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the user usually after two weeks driving, he hears the noise, he knows exactly what he did wrong, and he applies the brakes or uses the steering wheel to avoid the accident. >> host: why are you up here on capitol hill? what's the importance of showing this to politicians? >> guest: first of all, we think today everyone is distracted driving. we want people to be safer, we want to expose our -- [inaudible] to capitol hill. we think there are many people who can leverage that technology in order to help us save lives, to help us spread the word out there and to, you know, the families and the drivers -- >> host: is mobileye yet available? >> guest: mobileye is available for the consumers. right now we are working with several retail chains, and we are getting more and more into the retail market, and definitely. anyone who wants the system can
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e-mail us at, we'll hook him up with an installer. >> host: isaac litman is the ceo of mobileye here at the consumer electronics show in washington. stephanie lundberg is with the ford motor company, and you have a display here at the consumer electronics show. why is ford at this tech show? >> guest: essentially, ford is a technology company. these days companies really have to innovate and bring technology into their overall plans to stay up with consumer demands. there are more many consumer technologies if their lives, in their cars, and ford is looking to do that in a safe way. looking for information and updates, they want to make sure it's done safely, so what we are demonstrating here or today is health and wellness in the car working with third party industry leaders, companies in the medical device field and
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health management field to sell systems where people can access that health information hands free on the go. >> host: so what are you, what are you specifically displaying or talking to lawmakers about? >> guest: sure. a few things. we have here an app currently available on your iphone. ford working with fdi health which is the maker of this app to provide a way to have this information read out to you, again, hands-free, to a sync-enabled ford vehicle while you're in the car. now, why is this important? well, let's say you're driving through an area that has high pollen level counts. this'll be able to tell you on a location-based service to tell you that you may want to avoid this area and drive around it. >> host: well, part of the policy, the policy part of this is the hands-free -- >> guest: sure. yeah, hands-of free, again, ford is very, very focused on --
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[inaudible] put your hands on the wheel, keep your eyes on, you know, driving. so again, we know that people are going to want access to health information which which in a lot of studies health is, you know, a growing trend, that they're able to do that in a way that is safe while they're driving. now, there's another safety -- [inaudible] as well. particularly, let's say, for people with diabetes. well, see if their glucose level is lore, we are working with a medical device company -- [inaudible] to tell you when your glucose levels might be dipping, you might want to pull over if you didn't. you know, some of the shocks are blurred vision or light headedness. >> host: stephanie lundberg of ford, thank you for your time.
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>> guest: thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> just ahead, us airways ceo doug parker talks about a possible merger with american airlines. and in an hour we'll be live with a discussion by the latino leadership project on foreign policy recommendations to president obama and republican presidential candidate mitt romney. later, live remarks from senate intelligence committee chairman dianne feinstein on u.s. and global intelligence efforts to prevent terrorism. and at 2 p.m. eastern, the u.s. senate is back to consider a judicial nomination for the u.s. district court of new jersey.
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>> now, us airways' chairman and ceo doug parker talks about a proposed merger with american airlines. the management of american airlines filed for bankruptcy last year and plans to formally hear from potential merger partners about other investment deals in the coming weeks. mr. parker also discusses the state and future outlook of the airline industry at this hourlong event from the national press club. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. and welcome to the national press club. my name is teresa werner, and i am the 105th president of the national press club. we are the world's leading professional organization for journalists, committed to our profession's future through programming events hike this. for more information about the national press club, please, visit our web site at
8:36 am to donate to programs offered to the public through our national press club journalism institute please visit on behalf of our members worldwide, i'd like to welcome our speaker and those of you attending today's event. our head table includes guests of our speaker as well as working journalists who are club members. and if you hear applause in our audience, we would note that members of the general public are attending, so it is not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalism objectivity. [laughter] i'd also like to welcome our c-span and our public radio audiences. our luncheons are also featured on our member-produced weekly podcast from the national press club available on itunes. you can also follow the action on twitter using hashtag npc lunch. after our guest speech concludes, we'll have a conclude and a -- we'll have a q&a segment. now i would like to introduce
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our head table guests, and i'd ask each of you to stand up briefly as your name is announced. from your right, jeff eller, public strategies inc.. jeff -- [inaudible] bloomberg news transportation reporter. laura gladding, guest of our speaker and president of the associate of professional flight attendants representing close to 17,000 flight attendants at american air rhines. -- airlines. maria rosio. david bates, president of the allied pilots' association representing 10,000 pilots at american airlines. marilyn geewax, national public radio, vice chair of the speaker's committee. i'm going to skip our speaker for just a moment. jamie horowitz, pr work and the member who organized today's luncheon. john connolly, international administrative vice president of twu, the transportation workers' union representing 26,000 ground
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workers at american airlines and a guest of today's speaker. jim asker, executive editor of "aviation week." sean bullard, national press club board member. [applause] us airways is certainly a big presence here in the nation's capital. the airline which has long been a dominant player at reagan national airport expanded its flight offerings to five additional cities just this month. our speaker today, u.s. air waist ceo doug parker, is a national presence in the airline industry. he has been the poster child for big changes in the airline business since he first took the helm at america west in 2001. and according to former southwest ceo herb kelliher, he's also a pretty mean poker player. we'll have more on that in a moment. if mr. parker has his way, in and his most recent gamble pays
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off, adding five new routes will be peanuts. doug parker was just 39 when he accepted the role of chief executive the officer of america west on september 1, 2001. as one of the youngest ceos in the industry, parker had already shown from his earlier tenure serving as cfo that he was a man of insight and quick action. he was well prepared to take reins. of course, no one could have predicted that just ten days after parker became ceo of america the country would be devastated by the attacks of september 11th. in the emotional and financial fallout of that tragic day, the airline industry came close to collapse. but parker navigated america west through these difficult times. when the company urged -- merged with us airways in 2005, parker took a new set of challenges on as the ceo of the newly-restructured legacy airline. us airways is a company built on mergers and acquisitions which
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is fitting for doug parker, the industry's main advocate for consolidation. he has argued time and again that airlines can be more flexible, more capable and more valuable to travelers if they join forces, and the airlines that did so are now operating successfully. now, back to those high-stakes poker. mr. parker, as he will no doubt tell you himself in a moment, believes that combining u.s. airways and american airlines would create a more competitive industry and a more sustainable airline. so far his plan has received widespread support including and perhaps surprisingly from the workers at american airlines and their unions. he is here today to tell us more about the merger and where it fits into his broader vision for the industry as a whole. ladies and gentlemen, please, join me in welcoming doug parker to the national press club. [applause]
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>> thank you, theresa, and thank you, all of you. that was very nice. i will say i'm not a particularly good poker player. herb is a particularly and uniquely bad one. [laughter] so he makes you look good. look, thanks again. this is a real honor to be here. i want to express my heartfelt thanks to the members of the national press club for their hospitality. this luncheon, i know, is a wonderful tradition, and we are honored to be a part of it. i want to start by thanking jamie horowitz who's here on behalf of the tua, we appreciate it. and i also want to stop right now and given by extending my deep gratitude to the american airlines' union leadership who's joining me here today. captain dave baits, laura gladding and john connolly are all here. it's been a pleasure working with all of you in a past several months, and i'm looking forward to what our future has in store. so thank you guys for being
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here. i'm also thrilled to be here today in our nation's capital. this room and this town live at the absolute intersection of policy, business, media and the public interest. so i wanted to be here to discuss my view of the state of the city there and u.s -- of the industry and us airways vision for the future. now, the level of media interest focused on our business continues to surprise me from time to time based on the size, certainly the revenue generated by our business, we seem to generate, to garner a disproportionate share of coverage. although if you think about how many people and communities we impact, perhaps it's not that surprising. the airline business is one of the most dynamic and challenging industries in the world. it's one of the most difficult to navigate given that so many pieces of our business are out of our control from the impact of oil prices to weather patterns. although markets in the industry -- margins in the industry are known for being slim, small profits have a very large impact. in 2011 the domestic airline
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industry added 300,000 jobs. we also served over 780 million passengers traveling to, from and within the united states. accounting for roughly 5% of our national gdp and driving $1 trillion in global economic activity. today our industry provides a framework for ten million jobs. as economic growth has slowed over the past several years, airlines have adapted and evolved. beginning in 2008, we focused on efficiently using capacity to meet demand, controlling cost and maximizing service to destinations with the greatest demand. other airlines have taken similar actions, and at the same time legislators and regulators have sought to improve and preserve the health of our industry. i'm happy to report that the a4a board is working more effectively with washington to insure safe and secure air transportation and to enable u.s. airlines to thrive while stimulating economic growth. it is true, though, we need to
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do more. our country needs a policy to address these hindrances in order to foster sustainable profitability, benefits for consumers and additional jobs. but we have a lot to show for our efforts. policymakers have helped the industry to take great strides in a more active, regulatory environment. and on that note, i'd like to thank congress. secretary rah hood and faa administerrer huerta in their diligence. their steadfast focus on safety is deeply appreciated and shared by all of us in the industry. so now let me tell you about what's happening at our company. the team at us airways, i'm happy to report, is doing a phenomenal job, and our results and prospects have never been stronger. we're going to announce our results next week, but we've already disclosed we will have a very strong second quarter, and we're expecting a very strong full-year 2012. we are producing record revenues, record yields, very strong load factors, and we're keeping our unit costs down, and
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we are flying a great airline. so far this year we've set new records in nearly every metric we measure, and that's in an airline that's led in the last five years in the key customer reliability metrics like on-of time performance and baggage handling. the credit goes to the 32,000 hard working people working with us airways. they're doing a fantastic job, and i can't thank them enough. and it's the responsibility of our management team to insure we're doing everything we can to support those people. and make us airways as strong as it possibly can be. so you might ask if u.s. ourways is doing so well on its own, why do you spend so much time and energy talking about mergers? why don't owe just keep doing what you're doing so well as an independent airline? first of all, from the first time we ever mentioned the benefits of mergers, we have always said there's no need for us airways to participate, and that is most certainly the case today.
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but just because we're doing well independently and have a model that works well, that doesn't mean we shouldn't work to make the model even stronger. we ask our team members to continually raise the bar, and they should ask the same of us. we owe it to them and our other stakeholders to make our airline not just strong and viable, but as strong and competitive as it can possibly be, and that's where mergers come in. mergers have been used to great effect by united and continental, delta and northwest, southwest/air tran and america west/us airways. all four combined airlines are now profitable. by come -- combining complimentary networks, it's led to cost reductions and vigorous competition. us airways is a prime example of this. though oil prices were the same in 2011 as they were in 2008, our focus on offering consumers more choices in the how and where they travel as well as on our own internal costs helped us airways turn an $800 million
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loss in 2008 to a $100 million profit in 2011. the benefits of this trend extend way past the bottom line. there are real advantages to combining airlines for employees, customers and communities. employees will benefit from greater job security and more long-term opportunities if they're working for a successful airline. customers will gain more flight options at better times to more places. and whenever two airlines combine, they open the communities they serve to many more travelers. american airlines sat out this merger, and it has left it strategically compromised. i know american airlines very well. in fact, i got my start there in the mid '80s. american is still a great airline with a powerful brand and great people including the senior management team led by my friend, tom horton. but it is not the largest airline in the world anymore or anything close to it. the mergers of united/continental and delta/northwest have created two
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airlines with much better developed route networks than american's. so finally late last year after watching the airline's revenue share get eroded by these new, more attractive networks and unable to get its own cost structure in line, american resorted to bankruptcy. while i've never worked for a company in bankruptcy, i've seen enough in this business to know what airlines can and can't accomplish through the process. first, bankruptcy does allow airlines to either negotiate new contracts with their labor unions or impose even worse terms upon their employees. it also allows the debtor to avoid repaying all the people that have loaned it money. finally, it allows the airline to renegotiate or terminate contracts. all these steps have significant financial advantages. airlines can emerge with lower operating costs and lore debt and not struggle nearly as much as they had before. but bankruptcy cannot fix a revenue problem. specifically, the bankruptcy process cannot repair a
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structural network problem like the one american airlines has today. american cannot fix those network deficiencies through organic growth either. american's network weakness and the consequent revenue challenges can only be fixed through a merger and only through a merger with u.s. airlines. let me explain. in the five years before it filed bankruptcy, american airlines slipped from being one of the top three airlines in the east, west and central regions of the united states to being ranked no better than fourth in any of those regions today. american's cornerstone strategy which focuses on five large cities only exacerbates its problem. as it doesn't address the network deficiencies of american versus united and delta. simply put, american has hubs in chicago, dallas and los angeles and strong international gateways in both jfk and miami. a very strong route network. but that leaves a large hole up and down the east coast. that means american cannot
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easily serve the popular and highly-lucrative east coast region which causes it to miss out on an enormous source of corporate business as well as consumers who travel up and down the eastern seaboard. now, network gaps like this were acceptable a few years ago when every airline had some gaps. but with the breadth and scale of the new united and new delta, that's no longer the case. american is steadily losing corporate share to their larger competitors, and it will never be able to gain it back without a comparable network. a combination with us airways would create such a network. we've taken a long, hard look at american, and we know that together we can build the greatest airline in the world, an airline that can compete more effectively with the networks of united, delta and others. together american and us airways can connect more communities and provide greater benefits for american's creditors and shareholders than either airline could do on a stand-alone basis. furthermore, we'd also save thousands of jobs and offer
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better compensation and long-term opportunities for the employees of both airlines. our networks are extremely complimentary. there's very little overlap, and, thus, no need to scale back the service that either airline currently offers. with us airways network added to its own, american would be able to connect travel horse to their -- travel hearse to their networks. for instance, trying to convince travelers in buffalo to fly anywhere on the east coast or throughout the southeast via connection in chicago which is something customers simply won't do, the new american would be able to connect those passengers through philadelphia, washington, d.c. or charlotte and provide very convenient connecting opportunities up and down the east coast. more comprehensive route networks would provide communities across the united states which have come to rely on major carrier service for their economic well being. the combined airline would maintain all its hubs in focus cities, so inhabitants of those nine cities would continue to
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reap the benefits of having a major domestic airline as a next door neighbor. in addition, those cities throughout the country that have limited connectivity would suddenly have many more travel options. american is now in fourth or fifth place in all three major regions of the united states. a merger with us airways would vault the combined airline to a much more competitive position in each region. it would be first on the east coast, the large and most lucrative region for air travel in the world. first in the central region and third on the west coast. such a network would apile to customers -- appeal to customers and allow the new american to once again compete for the title of world's leading airline which is something its employees have been missing and longing for for a very long time. now, you don't need to take my word for all this. in our industry there are enormous amounts of data regarding airline performance including routes flown, pricing and profitability, all of which are publicly filed at the do turks and other government agencies. all of this publicly-available data has been exhaustively
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analyzed by numerous parties seeking to compare the different options available to american. every single independent analyst on wall street and elsewhere who's taken the time to learn the facts has decided that a merger with us airways is in the best interests of american airlines, its creditors and future shareholders. moreover, almost all analysts who look at the data and then consider american's cornerstone strategy have concluded it won't solve american's network problems. american's employees and their advisers have come to the same conclusion as evidenced by their presence here today. and evidence of the financial creditor support is found in the trading prices of american's unsecured bonds which were trading around 20 cents a dollar prior to the news of us airways' interest and now are trading at over 60 cents. so if a merger would benefit consumers, create a more competitive industry and do all these nice things for employees and creditors, why is it -- and if everyone who studies it thinks it's a good idea, the
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question is, why is it not happening? i can tell you from our own experience with mergers, we've learned that timing is everything. we believe the best course for all stakeholders is to effect a merger with american during the bankruptcy process. from a financial perspective, chapter 11 can shield american from many of the transactional expenses that it would incur in a postbankruptcy merger scenario. it offers a better environment to work out fleet optimization, i.t. contracts, credit card arrangements and facility issues. from an internal perspective, it will provide more benefits to employees. furthermore, the employees support a merger during bankruptcy, and that really matters especially in a customer service business. lastly, us airways is here now, and we're ready to do this now. um, that is not -- there's no guarantee that'll be the case forever. american got itself in this situation in part because they
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were singularly focused on fixing their internal issues and assumed the outside world would stand by while they did. that wasn't the case, and can it very well may not be the case in the future. so we believe the time for action is now. as part of its earlier commitment to a merger protocol, last week american announced its plan to open talks in the near future. we're pleased with this development because we hope it means we'll finally get the chance to present our plan in a fair and balanced process. but we also believe it's more important than ever to insure the process is, indeed, fair, transparent and credible. all we want to do is a chance to present our plan. and that determines the best plan based on what is best for the owners of amr who are its creditors. we understand there may be as many be as four other airlines included, and we welcome the competition. we are certain that any objective analysis will conclude
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that the best plan for the creditors, employees and customers of american is a merger with us airways during the bankruptcy process. now, before i close, excuse me, i want to take a moment to talk about the american airlines' labor leaders who are here today. they represent over 55,000 american employees. and the story american tells about its bankruptcy filing, the company's three labor unions are the offenders, selfishly obtaining excessive wages and benefits at the expense of the company's long-term prospects. but over the past few months, i've had the great fortune to work with the leaders of these unions, and these people have acted in the best interests of their members and of american airlines over the long term. they've done so with tremendous foresight, wisdom and professionalism. the decision by these labor leaders to come out in support of a merger was an unprecedented move on their part, and i think it's one of the great untold stories of this process so far.
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some people improperly characterize their support asking with driven by us airways' willingness to pay their members more. but as they will tell you, the gap between our proposals and american's proposals is not very large. their support is not driven by short-term gains, but rather by the fact they've taken the time to study the long-term strategic underpinnings of each plan. they've listened and they have led. in the end, they've supported this merger because they understand the best thing for their members is a strong, competitive, merged airline with a long-term strategic advantage. the employees of american airlines are lucky to have these forward-thinking leaders representing them, and i'm proud to be working with them. thank you, david. thank you, laura. thank you, john. so now in closing, some of you may know i'm a big fan of bob dylan, and i sometimes throw his lyrics in some of my speeches, so i'll do it again. as i think about this process and where we are, the lyric that comes to mind is you don't feed
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a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. what he meant was, there are some things you just know. you can spend a lot of time digging through a lot of analysis, listening to the pros and cons, waiting for more information. but that just complicates the situation, and you get tied up in the process and lose sight of the substance. you don't need it. you don't need all of that to tell you what you already know. this is one of those cases. you already know what the right answer is. everyone on wall street knows it. the employees of american airlines and us airways know it. the creditors watching the bond prices know it. the media knows it, now the public needs to know it. and that's where you all come in. by the way, i heard theresa say that the media can't applaud. feel free to applaud anytime you want. [laughter] the public has a lot invested in the outcome of american which means it has a major stake in american's process. so, please, hold everyone's feet to the fire as the situation
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unfolds. ask the tough questions and demand can real answers. cut through the noise and the process and get to the substance. don't wait for the weatherman to tell you what you already know. there are 100,000 jobs at stake here. their fate should not be decided in the dark. thank you very much, i'm now -- i'd like to open the floor for questions, i'd be delighted to take tough questions and give real answers. prison -- this [applause] >> how can us airways enter into another merger when it has yet to integrate the employee group from the last one in 2005? >> can i have a different question? [laughter] kidding. happy to answer that one. that's fail one of the easy -- actually one of the easy ones. indeed, we still are working through integration issues with the america west/us airways
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pilots. the problem there without boring everybody in the room is a seniority integration issue which has, unfortunately, resulted in litigation that is tied up in federal court. and once that is resolved, we'll have a seniority list that will allow us to get those pilots move today the contract. but that's been a long process that i don't think any of us anticipated, but it is what it is. we're running the airline extremely well despite that. but it has to go o through a court process. now, the nice thing about this merger is since the time we closed the us airways/america west transaction there's been some federal legislation passed called the mccaskill-bond law, and that law now requires that if, indeed, there are unions from two separate airlines that, in a merger, they need to go to binding arbitration. and once that binding arbitration is complete, that's the list. it's federal law, the seniority list. had that been in place back when we did the merger, we wouldn't still have this problem. if we do this merger with
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american, that will be the process by which we're governed, and it would actually resolve this problem. so, um, that's not the reason we want to do the merger. we'll get this resolved on our own if we need to, but it's one of the nice benefits of it. >> why aren't any of us airways' union representatives here today? >> because they're all hard at work -- [laughter] working to represent us airways. look, the situation is this; we at this point had to go cut, had to go work out transactions and agreements with three that are american, and we haven't had to do so with the us airways unions. if we get to the point we are merging the airlines, you'll have the us airways leaders standing shoulder to shoulder with these guys in support of the merger. >> what are you doing to work out other issues with your flight attendants and their contract? >> our flight attendants, we did reach with the negotiating committee reach an agreement that was sent out to the
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members. the members rejected it, unfortunately, so we're back in negotiations with them. we hope those negotiations to yield a result that can get ratified. those negotiations actually are starting, are happening today, and so we're highly optimistic we can get that done before we get this merger done. >> will you guarantee u.s. airway employees seniority? >> this is a process, as we've well learned in our us airways/america west merger that is left to the unions to determine. indeed, what i know is the labor leaders here understand what a big issue this is, and they will make sure the process that takes place is fair to all employees, and i'm highly confident about that, so not the least bit concerned about how that process will be managed. >> historically, employee groups in airline mergers have suffered as management and executives have prospered. why would this proposed merger be any different? >> well, i'm not sure i accept the premise, but what i can tell
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you about this merger is, again, as evidenced by the support of the labor unions here today, is good for the employees of both airlines. and, um, one that will provide for both companies the ability to have an airline that has job security, that we cannot -- neither airline can provide today. you create a stronger airline that allows for more job security. the fact that the two networks are able to produce revenues that neither of us can produce together by combining those revenues allows us to pay more, and all those things are great for the employees of both companies and why we have the employee support. >> other than the three largest unions on the creditors' committee, who else has committed to your approach to an alternative to american ire lines' stand- alone plan? >> again, as i noted in my remarks, everyone we've talked to supports this. as to the actual creditors
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committee itself and those comprised on it, you know, we haven't had the opportunity yet to present to the creditors committee. when we do, i'm certain we'll have a unanimous vote in our favor so long as we have a fair process. >> according to "the new york times," tom horton stands to make $60 million if he is ceo of american when it emerges from bankruptcy. do you think that is why they are fighting a merger with us airways? >> um, the -- let's see. i do, i find it photoworthy that the only -- noteworthy that the only opposition that seems to exist to this merger is the senior management at american. you know, again, we have full wall street support, employee support, bondholder support. what we don't have is the support of the american airlines' senior management team. i don't want to guess as to why it is they don't support it, but we are hopeful that we can get their support at some point in the future.
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>> will you seek antitrust approval for a merger before the end of the year? >> um, we would like to. that's part of the process that i keep referring to. um, this finish we've done a tremendous amount of work looking at this come combinatiom a regulatorier be spective. do not anticipate there will be regulatory issues, but there's a formal process that starts with -- [inaudible] and we need, we need american's participation in that event. so we are hopeful that the process ha we still have not seen yet but have been told exists will include filings like that to happen in a timely manner so that we are on equal footing as a stand-alone plan in terms of timing. >> should the merger proceed with us airways object to any possible antitrust divestiture requirements that might focus on dca or other hub and focus cities? >> again, we've done an extensive amount of review and
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don't believe the combined airlines would require any sort of divestitures in order to receive doj approval. but we'll wait for that process to unfold and see if it's the doj agrees. but certainly the work we've done would indicate that no divestitures would be required. >> the american pilots will soon be voting on a tentative agreement with american. how does a yes or no vote impact the situation for u.s. air? >> yeah. this one we struggle with a little bit. um, the reality is it's up to the pilots of american to decide. but, um, i have found that a lot of them now have my e-mail address, and i hear from a lot of them. many be -- many of whom are asking just that question. what they want to know is if we ratify, will that get us closer to a merger? because that's what they're being told, and i don't want to speak for david and certainly mess up his process, i'm just telling you what i'm hearing
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from pilots, and that is that they're hearing from their advisers that it's the right thing to do if they want to get to a merger, which they do, to ratify a contract with american. and that has, as you might imagine, some sort of a little bit of a cognitive dissonance in it. you know, it's hard -- it's not maybe that straightforward to understand, but the reality is, um, as we've talked to restructuring advisers, we think the same thing. that is american and the creditors' committee have made it quite clear through the process that the merger process will follow these labor contracts being put in place. so, um, actually agreeing with american and putting a process in place on the stand-alone should lead us closer to getting the merger done. so i believe, again, i should leave this for david to talk about with his own members and what they're being told, but that's our understanding that, indeed, ratification would be good for the merger and, indeed, that's why most of the american employees are leaning toward ratification if they are which
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is because they believe it's best for a merger which is what they really want. >> you attribute american's current state of network deficiencies, yet what distinguished american most is the fact that it maintains the highest labor cost in the industry. given that fact, what specific facts provide assurance that the cycle won't be repeated via your accommodation of american's union commands? >> thanks for the question. i'm glad someone asked it because i should have mentioned this more than. in fairness to the people represented in this room, the pell in this room and the people they represent, the us airways proposal is significantly concessionary versus where the american employees were prior to bankruptcy. so, you know, it does a disservice to the people of american to suggest that they aren't giving a lot in this transaction because, indeed, they're giving more than anyone else. the contracts that we have offered to the american employees are only better than the contracts that the even more concessionary contracts that american has offered them.
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and, indeed, as i said in my remarks, they're not that much different now as american has increased their offers. so the fact of all this is, when we get done with this, we will have an airline that has the ability to generate revenues like the larger competitors at northwest and delta. i believe if you're an airline that can generate the same amount of revenues, you should be able to pay the same amount, and it works to bring these employees up to similar levels as their counterparts at uniteed and delta, and we think that's fair, and there's no doubt that the combined airline can afford to do that, and we're happy to do so. >> is u.s. air making a profit due to artificially low wages? >> no. we make a profit -- let me talk a little bit about us airwayses' model. i referenced it in the remarks, but it is different. i think a fair question is all those things you said about american and its network deficiencies could be said about us airways, and that's somewhat true. we, indeed, at us airways have a
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network that's even smaller than american's and, therefore, has less revenue-generating capabilities than united and delta. we do two things different. one is we focus our flying on places where we truly have a competitive advantage. we are the number one carrier in each of our hubs, at charlotte, phoenix, d.c., philadelphia. we do have -- we are the largest carrier, and that gives us an advantage. so we focus on places where we do well, and that's point one. somewhat different than where american is, certainly with the cornerstone strategy. point two, we do have lower costs. you can't have an airline that has revenue disadvantage to its competitors have the same cost structure. that's what's happened at the old us airways. those airlines go away. we understand that, our people understand that. so what we do instead is we have an airline that has lower costs, that can match our revenue-generating capabilities. we do, indeed, do that with lower labor costs. we have to do that. our employees know that. we require sometimes contentious
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labor negotiations, but always with full information about what we can and can't do. and that model works well, and that model can work forever. the good news is this doesn't mean there isn't a lot of room for increases in us airways over the long term stand-alone, because there is a lot of room. but by merging these two airlines, that argument goes away, and that's why it's so good, because it allows us as with the american employees to get to higher wages and more than us airways can ever do stand alone. >> is a merger a necessity to stay afloat? do your e employees need this merger for a secure us airways' future? >> absolutely not. and, again, our resultings next week -- results next week will prove this better than i can say it. we've been the smallest of the four network carriers sin our merger in 2009 -- since our merger in 2005, we're much smaller than united and delta, but we're producing results that are as good or better than theirs because of the model i
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just described, and we can keep doing that forever. >> what would a combined us airways and american fleet look like concerns american's massive -- considering american's massive fleet order last year? >> yeah, again, since the two route networks are nicely complimentary, we need all the planes which would be a very nice, very new fleet. the new aircraft order that american has put in place we would, of course, honor was we will before because we will need those planes. >> what step is your airline taking to better compete with foreign competition? >> well, our airline being us airways? doing what i said, sticking to where we have a competitive advantage and doing that well. flying in and out of our hubs and doing so very well. this combined airline could do much better. this threat from foreign competition is real and one that we all should be worried about in terms of commercial aviation
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because or there are others in other countries that have much bigger advantages than we do was they really do have national aviation policies in their countries, and it should be a concern for all of us. but this new airline would be much better equipped than either american stand-alone or us airways stand-alone would be to compete. >> what are your views on airline consolidation at the regional level? >> um, less strategic, certainly can make sense. and, frankly, you know, we own a couple of regional airlines, so i know a little bit about it, but there are, indeed, um, you know, maybe more regional airlines than one would expect there to be at this point in time. but you don't get the same kind of benefits that you do with consolidation at the main line because they're simply -- the regionals for the most part fly in and out of networks supporting the larger network carriers, so you don't get the kind of network consolidation and benefits that you would as that of us airways or american.
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>> what is your view of the 50-seat flying in airways' regional feed and what is the future of 50-seat market? >> um, that sounds like one of our pilots for this one. [laughter] i know they're here. hi, guys. represent our regional carriers. anyway, the -- we at us airways have a couple of contracts with outside suppliers for 50-seat jets. some of them were cone -- done to save the old us airways and get it through bankruptcy. those are contracts we need to abide by. if we could tear them up and start over, we wouldn't have as many 50-seaters, so, but we don't have that luxury, nor or do we want it. we're quite happy, but the reality is we have more 50-seaters than we'd like, and over time we'll correct that issue, but right now we're going to keep the ones we have. >> what would be the impact of a merger on ticket prices? >> well, ticket prices are hard
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to project, but i don't think the merger itself would have any impact positively or negatively for the most part. boast -- both of us price our target to compete. what i know is it would create a third competitor to united and delta which doesn't exist today. those two airlines, again, i can't stress enough, how the networks they've created have created two u.s.-based global carriers and two alliances, frankly, that are stronger than anything else. and this merger would create a third competitor to them that's just as big as them, an alliance that can compete with them by making one world that much stronger. so it's good for competition to create a third airline that can compete against those two large airlines. >> will that help eliminate luggage fees? will there be more layoffs, and will there be more seat spacing oen planes? [laughter]
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>> who turned that one in? >> we're getting to the meat. >> look, the industry today part of what we have done to get ourselves well is do a better job, i think, of charging for the services some customers want and not charging those who don't want to avail themselves of them. baggage fees is one of those. i know it was a huge, fundamental change in our business model, one that the industry had not put in place before but one that makes sense. the reality those of you that avail yourselves of the service of handing your bag over to us and handing it back to you at the end of the trip require a set of infrastructure that those that carry the bag on don't. just think about when you check in now because of all the technology advances, the only reason there's airline real estate outside of security is the check-in baggage. we wouldn't need that space or employees. i'm not suggesting they won't or shouldn't, i'm just suggesting if you do that, a cost to it. and those that do it should.
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that includes the bag belts, people running baggage in this between airplanes, all of that exists for that service. and the baggage fees seek to charge those who want to use it and not charge those who don't. and i think it's a better model. so, again, we certainly have had a lot of customer feed back about it. that's not our goal, to end up doing things that alienate our customers. but i do believe we've certainly gotten better customer acceptance of it. we still have some airlines that don't do it, and that keeps us all the way it should work. it's a competitive business. we've chosen to do it, and i think, again, it's the right model for the business today. >> by charging customers the luggage fee, it drives more of them to bring things onto the airplane creating congestion. what is your solution to that? >> you didn't even read a card. your own question. [laughter] i can see where this is going. [laughter]
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yeah, look. indeed, when you charge for people to check bags, they will, um, try to figure out ways to get bags down to the airplane that maybe don't fit on the airplane. you know, look, again, we're not going to try and fix that problem. other than -- we're not going to try and fix the problem by charging people to get down there, i'll tell you that. that creates new sets of issues. what we need to do is work very hard to try and make sure people understand that, you know, to try and check bags that can't actually fit in, if they don't, to try and check them in advance and pay the fee. and we work really hard as an airline to make sure when people do get down to the gate with bags that are too large, that we accommodate them. but the real goal would be to figure out a way that they don't get down there and people stop at security before they get that far. >> you could charge them a double fee if it doesn't fit and you have to accommodate them. [laughter] how much outsourcing of jobs goes into the u.s. airline
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industry? >> um, i don't know i know the answer to that question. um, there's certainly some amount of work that is not done entirely by airline employees, i know that. on that note, i'm happy to report we at us airways in the last year brought in all of our reservations that had been outsourced at the time of the us airways bankruptcy. we actually, i think, today have some of our reservations agents on the hill talking about that event which we're very proud of. we, um, we now have 100 percent of our reservations being done by us airways' employees in the united states, and we're really happy about that result, and that happened over the course of the last year. >> how much inspection of foreign-made parts takes place to insure the safety of american carriers, and are u.s.-made parts better? >> yeah. any work that's done outside of the united states is regulated by the faa and by the same system, so there's no concern, nor should anyone have any
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concern that work done in outside repair, repairs outside the united states is any standard any lower than we have in the united states. >> how has the three-hour tarmac delay rule affected operations, and do you think it's fair? >> i think the three-hour tarmac rule is a great example of what happens when we in the business don't do a good job of taking care of our customers. i can tell you that if, you know, if we go through the data, the reality is that the rule probably is worse for customers than better. um, you know, there probably are cancellations that occur that wouldn't have occurred before was we have to bring the airplane back. but that's not the point. it's a law now, and it's a law because we as an industry did a horrible job in several cases of taking care of our customers when there were long delays. and when you do that, you get legislation. and the message is we should not do things like that, or we will
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get more legislation. so we are committed to making sure we're taking care of customers and doing things every day with an attitude that is in favor of the customers that we don't get ourselves in these circumstances again. so the three-hour tarmac rule was forced upon us because we didn't do things right ourselves. and that's what will happen in the future if we don't do things right in the future. >> should the u.s. relax its restriction on foreign ownership of airlines? why or why not? >> well, we don't have a real strong position on this at us airways because i don't think it makes any large difference in the business. i mean, from a free market perspective i think certainly there could be a case made why do you have these restrictions. they don't seem to make a lot of market sense, and i'd be hard pressed to argue that there's some sort of national defense concern of having foreign ownership of u.s. carriers. so from that perspective i think you could make a strong argument
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that they shouldn't exist. but having said that, relaxing them i don't think would have a major impact on our business. it's not as if there's a shortfall of capital in the united states. anybody with a good business model can get financing, so it's not as though we need financing. and furthermore, you know, the fact is at least right now the majority of the labor unions are concerned about it because they're concerned about it for jobs. until we can get that addressed and figure out together it's something that makes sense, it's probably not going to happen anyway. again, it's one that i do believe is hard to argue from a free market perspective but also one that we have in place now, and i suspect it will stay in place for quite some time. >> what is the most important thing the federal government can do or not do to help us airways or other u.s. airlines today? >> um, just let us compete. do -- ideally, lower taxes.
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and i'm sure you're all aware of this, but about 20% or more of what you pay on a ticket goes to taxes and fees. it'd be nice if you all had to pay less than that, but, indeed, the case today. so i think i'll give you a two-part answer, the best thing they could do would be to lower the tax burden. i'll be pragmatic and suggest that's probably not going to happen in the near term, so instead what we would ask is, please, don't raise those taxes and, please, don't do things that make it harder for us to compete. this is a business that is hard enough as it is and one that we all struggle to make even modest profits in. but a large part of that problem is because of government regulation and government intervention and not allowing airlines to compete like other businesses. so we just ask for the opportunity to compete. don't raise our tax burden, lower it if you can and put if place policies that recognize that things like mergers and alliances, um, make sense.
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as other businesses have done over time. and provide airlines that same opportunity. >> does us airways predict any significant political backlash from hub and focus cities like philadelphia or pittsburgh? >> absolutely not because this is good for all the cities we fly to today. again, since the route networks are complimentary, we would combine the two route networks, fly to all the cities we currently fly, maintain the hubs, and the citizens and customers in those communities would have more service to more cities, and that's one of the great things about it. >> as you said in your speech, you began your airline career at american airlines working with tom horton. is some of this merger battle personal? >> what are you laughing about? [laughter] um, no. absolutely not. none of it's perm. personal. tom and i are friends, have been friends for a long time.
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hopefully, when this is over we'll remain friends. right now we have a disagreement about b what's best for american airlines, and it's a business disagreement, not personal. none of this is remotely personal. what this is about from my perspective is about 100,000 jobs and doing the west we can for the -- the best we can for the people, for those 100,000 people. and i don't think any individual or any small group of individuals should get in the way of that. and we certainly don't plan to, and we don't think the american airlines' executives should do that either. i'm not suggesting that's what they're doing, but what i do think we should do is have a fair and open process that allows the best plan to be seen and the best plan to come forward and put in place and, again, i'm highly confident if we do that, what you will find is the best plan is a merger with us airways and tom, at this point, disagrees with that. >> you are currently in negotiations with the machinist union. how can you bgain in good faith when you are courting other unions from another airline? >> i'm sorry -- >> how can you bargain in good
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faith? >> well, we are, indeed, in negotiations with a number of our employees. those negotiations take place in good faith as they always will under the assumption that us airways will be a stand-alone airline, and we will get all those contracts done and resolved under those premises, and nothing about that has changed. those negotiations take place under the exact same terms that they would if none of this was going on, as they should, and we'll get the contracts with those people on those terms. now, i think, i think the better question is how are those negotiations affected if there's a merger. if they're not done, then we move into the merged entity, and we go through another process there. but nothing about the contracts that are being negotiated today are affected by the fact that we happen to be, um, pursuing this merger. >> if the merger goes through, would you take american headquarters out of fort worth? >> we would not.
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we -- if, indeed, the airlines were merged, the headquarters would remain where they are in the metroplex in fort worth. we are well aware of the fact that the other two airlines, the stronger brand is the american brand. as i staid, i've been there myself. i -- as i said, i've been there myself. i love that brand. i know it's a good airline, so we think that's the right brand for the company and, furthermore, happen to believe that any airline named american airlines should be headquartered in fort worth. so that's where it'll be. >> if this merger goes through, will you stay in the star alliance? >> we would not. we would move into one world. it's one of the nice things about if merger happens. us airways stand-alone is educate treatmently happy to be in star alliance. -- extremely happy to be in star alliance. we're very happy with our position in star, but this combined airline would move the us airways' revenues, you know,
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13 billion or so, into one world. that would have a nice balancing effect for the three alliances. one world has fallen behind, much like american's fallen behind united and delta. and so by moving us airways into one world, it creates three much more balanced alliances which, by the way, i think is why willie walsh yesterday in this town made positive comments about the merger as well, because the members of one world know the best thing for one world is for us airways and american to merge. >> as you just said, willie walsh said it was an aggressive strategy that put this merger on the table. what is your plan b if this doesn't work? >> well, we are highly hopeful that the process haas been laid out -- that's been laid out which, again, i will note we haven't seen, but the process we understand exists is the right post. and there won't need be a plan b, that the process that comes forward out of the committee,
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out of american will, indeed, provide a fair and level playing field for all proposals to be reviewed. and we are -- couldn't be more confident that in that case our proposal would prevail. so that's where we expect to go. i don't really like to speculate what happens if that doesn't happen because i'm not sure -- i'll tell you about speculation in this case, it's, you know, from the time we started this people have been telling us this hasn't been done before. there is no playbook. so we've been doing a lot of automobiling. audibling, and, indeed, if we find that process doesn't go the way we hope it does, we'll call another audible. i don't know what it is, and i'm not going to speculate on it. but, again, 100,000 jobs at stake here, and that's too important to let a small group of people decide it shouldn't happen. so we'll do what we need to to get it done. >> so if american airlines emerges as a stand-of alone, you think 100,000 people's jobs will be at stake? >> that's not what that card
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says. [laughter] >> reading these cards over her shoulder. it said nothing like that. [laughter] okay, but i'm happy to answer that question. yeah. look, here's what i believe, that between the two companies -- here's what i know, there are 100,000 employees between us airways and american, and i believe what's best for those 100,000 people is to work for the strongest airline they can, the one that can compete with northwest and delta. i'm not suggesting that if american goes stand alone, all those 100,000 jobs go away. i certainly don't think that would be the case, but what i know is those 100,000 people will be working much as they have since 2001, with less security about their airline, less security about their future, less about for progression in their career, less, um, ability to be paid as the people at united and delta. and indeed over time there will
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be fewer jobs. 00,000 -- 100,000 people's lives are worse off if we don't do this merger than if we do. okay, i want you to read it. >> have you ever tried to reach a live person by calling us airways on your company's number, and if you don't have it, i've got it right here. [laughter] >> let's try it. [laughter] i'm not going to call it in fear it may not work. [laughter] i'm certain i'd get a life person. here's the answer to that question, theresa, which is the large number of phone calls that go into any airline's reservation system do not require talking to a live person. so the system is set up in a very friendly way, we believe, with a lot of research done by a lot of people to navigate those callers who do not need to talk to a person, to an individual to
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have their problem taken care of through an automated process that allows us to keep our costs down, that allows us to provide better customer service to those who actually do need to talk to an agent. and that's why when you first call in, yeah, you will find yourself talking to someone who's not a live human being. although they sound pretty much like one. so -- but that's the reason those, that program exists, and it works really, very extremely well. >> is there a press 0 option for a live person? >> it's hard o find. [laughter] >> before we get to the last question, and we're almost out of time concern, i know you're disappointed. i want to let you know about our upcoming speakers. on july 20th we have the president and ceo of the cleveland clinic who will discuss health care -- >> and we're going to break away from the last couple of minutes of taped program, take you live now to the wilson center here in washington, d.c. for a panel discussion on hispanic voters and u.s. foreign policy.
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two of the panelists serve as co-chairs of the latino task force, a group created to recommend policy options to president obama and republican presidential candidate mitt romney. the wilson center's mexico institute and the pacific council on international policy hosts the live event. our deliver coverage underway now here on c-span2. >> and on behalf of the woodrow wilson center, very happy to be working at pacific council. very lucky to have with us two extraordinary leaders. you have the bios for both of them, but let me say briefly -- [inaudible] has been leading businessman, ceo and head of telecom companies in europe, in the pacific and asia as well as in the united states, has a distinguished career in business, as well as a leader at bipartisan initiatives across
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the aisle between republicans and democrats. antonio hernandez leads no introduction, the long-time president of the california community foundation, former counsel to the senate judiciary committee and has served in all sorts of roles in politics on issues of immigration reform, on issues of almost every major domestic policy and foreign policy issue that you could imagine that has faced the united states through a distinguished career. they are the two, they will tell you about the latino leadership project in a moment, but they are the two co-chairs of this initiative, and -- which we think is a new addition and powerful addition to the discussion on u.s. relations with western hemisphere and can a powerful addition to discussions on latinos and variety of policy issues. let me go ahead and turn it over to, um -- [inaudible conversations]
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>> is there a call in the here? i think we have a call coming in the here, if someone can check on that. we'd also like to welcome our audience from c-span and anyone else watching us on the live streaming from the wilson center web site as well. and let me turn it over to antonia. >> well, thank you for being here today. we're here to share with you, um, a new initiative sponsored by the pacific council on international policy, an organization out of los angeles devoted to the study of foreign relation issues from a west coast perspective with an emphasis on the western hemisphere and the east. about a year ago we started the discussion of a creation of a task force that would look specifically at foreign relations, foreign affairs from a latino perspective. now, the question is, you know, what is the latino perspective
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and why a latino perspective? well, first, as you know, the latino community in the united states has grown rapidly, and, um, because of a affinity culture, language to some degree familial ties, there is a shared experience and an understanding of the americas. and this task force will look at that relationship in a very important point in time in the america's history. the evolution and growth of the latino commitment, the importance of what -- community, the importance of what has been happening south of the border economically and politically in the last 15 years, as you know, economic growth in certain countries in latin america, south america and mexico have outpaced the united states. ..
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we think that obviously depend the perspective of where there has been so much migration and so much transnational traffic, of people that have come back and forth, is critical. my experience has been about running large companies around the world. and as i think about our country, the united states and we think about what are the drivers of success and what is a story here that is really
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important to every american? it is about our trade and it is about our trade and economic flows between us, the united states, and across the americas. and just to give you a few quick data points, when i think about trade i think about exports and when i think about exports i think about jobs created in the u.s.. and jobs that employ people here in the u.s. and when we think about an exciting story, i think most of us have a picture, if you pick up almost any magazine, any newspaper and you watch the electronic media you will see a story today about china. you will see a story today about india but one of the interesting data points i think all of the shakib in the back of our minds or maybe now in the front of our minds, is the fact that today ,-com,-com ma you look at trade, we export more to mexico then we do to china.
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we export three times the amount of goods and services to latin america as we do to china. so my point is not about the fact that china isn't important. my point is that mexico, latin america, the countries in the south, we have dramatic and substantial trade flows between the countries. we also then translated into it means jobs in the u.s.. and we also translate it into the fact that as we think about our economy and as we think about stories for us to focus on, clearly labor is critical. labor in all sectors of our economy. we can talk about ph.d.s but we can also talk about certain other skill categories and we can talk about unskilled workers. because, this economy requires all kinds of workers at at all
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layers of our economy. so when we think about flows, flows of human capital in addition to financial capital, that is part of the story. and so, when a pacific council decided to look at this and particularly the committee started to look at this, we started thinking about it with the latino lens and thinking about how it methods, how it strengthens and how important it is to our country. two last comments. one is that, as we think about even within our borders in the united states, the latino economy, meaning the hispanic gdp equivalent spent, today is worth about $1.2 trillion. now again to translate it into a comparable, comparable might be when we talk about india, china
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and brazil and russia. i'm sorry? i will turn that off here. we might think about comparables here and we have a country within our country when we think about the hispanic sector of our economy here. and so, we have many small, medium and now larger sized businesses that do business here but also do a lot of business across borders. and so, when we think about this story, when we think about the impact, when we think about the importance, when we think about the politics, when we think about the economics, all of this to me is exciting, it's compelling and therefore it is important. >> let me ask him i mean you put together a task force of extraordinary people from businesses and people from politics who come out of civil
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society and religious backgrounds. some people themselves are immigrants from latin america but for others it's probably fifth, six sixth or seventh generation in their backgrounds. is there a particular approach to the region and to latinos have something unique to say about the relationship? >> i believe that latinos do have a special interest and relationship. many of us have familial relationships, some recent, some past culture, language, and i don't believe this country has ever really focused on these attributes that could be of benefit to the united states. and, why today? i think the timing could not be better. the growth of the latino community in the united states is the largest minority group in
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the united states. its voting power, it has been increasing tremendously, and i do think that in looking at south of the border, there are opportunities, positive opportunities that benefit this country by a closer alliance and closer relationship. as an example, i don't think americans truly understand the significant changes that have occurred loath domestically and internationally south of the border that would benefit paying more attention. as an example, the evolution and the strengthening of democracy in certain important large countries in south america and central america, mexico, colombia, brazil. we have cemented the democratic ideals of the democratic form of government, and coupled with that has been the growth of its
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economy. and in fact in certain countries mexico and brazil as an example and chile, their growth has been greater than the united states. here in the united states the growth of the latino community has also been quite impressive and latinos are beginning to take more of a center stage and an interest in what happens to this country. and we believe that the future of the latino community and this country is tied to increasing and improving our relationship with south of the border. and so for us, this report will highlight the opportunities for a closer relationship that involves and integrates the latino community into foreign-policy. >> economically how much does latin america matter economically to the united states? >> well to me it is dramatic. it is substantial.
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it's significant and in many different ways. the examples i cited before about trade and exports to mexico and to latin america, you know they are critical and if you look at the growth of the economy's, the gdp growth today, this year, last year and what is projected for next year, you know the americas, do you think about latin america in particular, you will see that the growth rate spare our matching those that we think about today e.'s, clearly higher than what they are here in the u.s. and in europe. so in a relative sense, you know, it's very significant. so, as i also then think about it as a businessperson, i think about how underdeveloped the relationships are as well. we can talk about a good historical relationship but as a business person you always say
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is there more that you could have? are there more relationships that could be built and the answer is absolutely yes by facilitating trade agreements, by facilitating joint partnerships and relationships with research institutions, ip development, and many different forms. it could create even greater stimulus because we have a long-standing relationship of trade and significant trade in the americas and my sense is that it can be developed much further. >> how about on the issue of migration. this is an issue that has obviously been in the public eye, primarily as u.s. immigration policies looked at from the other side are mexico, central america and the dominican republic and elsewhere. people look at it as out migration. what should the dialogue he between the united states in these countries and what do we need to do in the united states? >> on the migration issue i
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think we need a whole different perspective. if if you look domestically at our country, you are looking at an aging population and even though we are in the midst of high unemployment and people tend to think of today, if you look 10 years from now, this country is going to have a deficit in workers and both that the low end and at the high-end. so i think we need to look at migration very differently. secondly, you know from sort of the more we work with, collaborate with our partners to the south to develop economic opportunities at home, the less migration we are going to have in this country. and i think to the degree that we can reform our immigration laws, and have an honest conversation about migration and
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separate -- first is the contentious issue that we are dealing with and hear about all the time, is the number of immigrants in this country. and what we are going to do with those individuals. and that is what gets the headlines. what doesn't get to have lines is that in the midst of all the unemployment, most of these people are employed. from an economic perspective, you know, there is a need whether we acknowledge it or not. this other issue that we need to talk about is, if and when we deal with the issue of unknown regularized immigration in this country what should our migration policy be? how do we improve our visa system and process? where should our immigrants come from because we are a country of democrats and what has made us
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unique is the fact that we have a fluid society in which to a large degree, we benefit from the best in the brightest throughout the world. in my view, that is changing. a lot of countries as they improve their economies, a lot of those people want to stay at home but to a large degree we have benefited from it and i think we need to have a real rational, you know, discussion of migration without the emotional. the 800-pound gorilla on the immigration debate is where do the people come from? the fact that the perception is the majority of immigrants are latino and the perception is that this country is going very cultural change. and it is talked about more and more but i think that hopefully, you know, to us this is not a report on just migration. it is a holistic lee report that
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looks at the broad perspective of how latinos look at you know, the issue of democratic forms of government. we look at security. we look most importantly at economics and how migration fits into all of this. you can't separate one from the other. they are interwoven. >> i just want to add perhaps a dimension about immigration and how to think about it in an economics context. those that are economists, they would say that you create gdp growth in two ways. one is population growth in and the second is productivity. there was an economist from i think it was lack rob. his name was robert dahl and he wrote an op-ed piece in "the wall street journal" about a year ago. and in there he talked about what i would call global market share of goods and services
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produced and who is taking share and who is losing share? if you went back to the year 2000, and you looked at the relative ranking, the united states of america, according to his data, had about 25% share of, let's call it global gdp. the question then was, in 2010, what happened to the united states of america's global market share? and subtending to that is the idea that most of us have seen the emergence of countries like china, india, russia, brazil and you look and say, so what you think happened to the u.s. share of market and i could give a quiz in this room and say okay give me some numbers. if we were at 25 in the year
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2000 where do you think we were in 2010? because we can't do that and we don't have enough time i will ask get you the answers. the answers that i thought of was if we were at 25 in 2010, my personal guess would have been we are probably 20 or 21% in 2010 versus the year 2000. thinking about china taking market share is in thinking about india etc.. and the answer was no, at the end of 2010 we were still at 25%. and so you say, why? and the answer is that there are two parts of the world that lost a significant share. one was europe, western europe in particular, where they were down over the decade about 8% and the other was japan, which
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most of us remember in the prior 20 years with the economic powerhouse, and they lost about 17% share of global gdp. and the u.s. held share. so then again the question is why? and the answer that robert dole gave us and that i think most economists would give, is immigration. we have a policy and we have flows of people that are coming into the u.s., bringing skills at areas levels and building key categories of capability to help us drive productivity and while they are here, because they are creating productivity and they personally are creating incomes of and their ability to pay taxes to buy goods and services
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etc. etc., that is what creates economic growth. and so to support the point that says we need to fix the broken processes that exist, but value immigrants and bring in some ways what rupert murdoch and mayor bloomberg testified before congress, to say there is about a trillion dollar boom sitting there for an economy if we can resolve a lot of these issues and deal with them in a very fact in databased way. >> let me ask you one final question before we open it up for discussion here. it's interesting that the task force was convened by this pacific council that it was done on the west coast primarily and happy to be involved with this was driven by people on the west coast. does that tell us anything? >> yes, it does.
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as you know unfortunately, our foreign policy as well as our domestic policy is very east coast centric and particularly when it comes to policy. it is what i call the boston new york d.c. cord or. and you know, the fact of the matter is, is that a lot is happening and a lot of the creativity is happening on the west coast. look at silicon valley and the technology. look at the impact of the population and the diversity of the population. it's on the west coast and seldom does this country really look at sort of the changes in evolution and its population and to way things are happening. and that is one of the focuses of the pacific counsel. latinos are no longer a west coast phenomena. as most of you know latinos have spread throughout the country
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and in fact the largest and most profound growth of the latino community has been in the southeast part of the united states. georgia, florida, the carolinas, arkansas, all of those areas are having phenomenal growth. but as far as sort of the anchor growth of the latino community, it's texas and california. so what we want to do is just sort of in hands the perspective of this country and quite frankly for me, it's an opportunity. we are in an election cycle and unfortunately, you know the americas, we see very little attention -- the story here is that you know, nobody really understands the growth and the evolution of our neighbors to the south. our future and the way the world
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is evolving, it is a -- and we just happen to take for granted our largest economic partners, canada and mexico. we happen to take for granted and not very much cover the stories of the solidification of democratic forms of government. we worry about all this other unstable government. but we don't invest as much south of the border so for us it's a way of giving a different perspective of the opportunity, and we are not shying away from them but the opportunities going forward and hopefully, getting our candidates and the public to engage in a discussion and to better understand the opportunities and possibilities with our neighbors to the south. >> is very different there a different sensibility in the west towards asia and latin america than you might see on the east coast?
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>> absolutely. as sonia just describe there is what i call the atlantic seaboard mindset, which is you know historically the nation and we have been very focused in europe and rightfully so because that was the genesis of how our economy, how are primary trade relationships etc. flow. but as we find in markets and as we find in life, markets evolve and growth has evolved differently. and so, if you are out west, in particular on the pacific corridor you first notice the big transition happening to the east end china, india and the whole asia package kind of course and also there is than that continuous knowledge about latin america. but there has been an interesting dynamic beyond asia, which we won't talk about today,
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but this dynamic about the robust economy, this evolving democracy, founded and supported by a robust economies. it is really a dynamic change that has really been happening over the last decade or so. clearly, if you were from the west or the southwest, you appreciate it and you see it, you see it real-time and you can relate to it. you have relationships, either business relationships or personal family relationships living in those economies and that is really important for us to understand as a nation. it's to be real-time, to be able to evolve and build those relationships and leverage them much more rapidly than perhaps if you are not quite appreciating them. so that is the strength of i think with the pacific counsel and specifically the task force is trying to deal with.
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>> i should note chris wilson is sitting over here and some of his work is looked at the relationship between the mexico and united states economic ties. cannot make ties are not solely limited to the west and the deepest economic ties are in texas, indiana, nebraska and michigan and new hampshire. all of all of the united states is deeply tied to mexico and if you were to look at central america and south america and the caribbean you would find the same pattern. it is not only the west that is linked to latin america in very deep ways. it depends on trade and export to the countries south of the hemisphere but as antonia has said there is a different ability to take advantage of the relationship because latin america is very much present in the west. it is a lot easier to take advantage of these relationships and these economic ties than perhaps it is in other parts of the country. let's open it up to a discussion here actually.
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we have very knowledgeable people in the room. if you want to join the discussion, raise your hand and if you don't mind identifying yourself and naming her institution and wait for the mic. we are on the woodrow wilson web site and for c-span. please wait for the mic so you can be heard by our larger audience out there. who wants to jumpstart the conversation? the two gentleman over here. >> i am ted wilkinson. i am working at the foreign service institute, and i would just like to pursue angers question a little bit further. i think we need to ask -- i got the impression that your answer was that the west coast opinion focuses more on latin america. it appreciates more they ties
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with latin america and perhaps washington does. every administration has been elected over the last 20 years has come in saying we must focus more on latin america and as soon as we get into office something happens to distract it. how would you express your recommendation to whoever takes office in january next year, whether it be republicans or mr. obama, to keep the focus on latin america? how do you do that? >> i think first, you know right now as a nation we are struggling with a fairly weak economy. some might say it's stronger than that in some might say it's weaker than that but most of us would agree we have a clearly weak economy right now. and unemployment is relatively high. it said some of the highest levels we have had for a long
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time. so when we think about how do we strengthen our economy and how do we continue to support it, it seems to me one of the biggest arguments here for keeping this part of the world as part of our focus in solving some of the issues is to make a part of the economic story and to have very specific tangible action plans around how you continue to increase trade, agreements with some other countries, trade flows facilitating some of the issues and i don't want to bore anybody here with some of the details, but you know i talk to businesses in arizona and california and others and the amount of business at the they are doing, just sending trucks into mexico with goods and services that are from companies in the u.s. is huge and finding kind of asymmetrical relationships that we can
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facilitate, companies from mexico and other places coming in and companies going into those countries is important. in me think about the amount of exports facilitating that, thinking like we do so that companies can do business and increase the volumes to the south so i guess my punchline is, make it part of the economic story, make it part of actual transition plans and implementation because there are many things that can be done that i think we can explore to increase the volume and actually stimulate more job creation into the u.s.. >> i would like to add that you know, it's different looking at foreign policy from a different perspective, as you know, foreign policy is that foreign
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policy is based on crisis and issues and concerns. and, for a whole variety of reasons, you know the americans have been taken for granted. but if you look at terrorism, which is a crisis issue, it's cementing democratic forms of government south of the border, it's critical in minimizing the impact. if you look at you know, the issues are that sort of separate in foreign policy, you can apply at those issues to south of the border crisis issues as a preventative way and an opportunity. one of the problems the american phase is not from a latino perspective but from a total perspective, is lack of attention. just taken for granted that nothing might be happening in the americas. the fact of the matter is that,
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from a crisis perspective, going forward, there are three basic crises, the issue of terrorism, and that is why supporting and working with countries south of the border to strengthen their democratic government, the rule of law, is so important. from an economic perspective, the world is forming economic clusters. our cluster is off of the border. those are our trade partners and if you want to continue to be an economic force in the world, that is where our future lies. and so that is an important issue. and i think you know, sort of trying to expand our definition of foreign relations as being reacted to certain crises in parts of the world that are important but not critical to our future.
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>> hello. i am from the development bank. thank you for being here. it's a great form. one of the thoughts i have is that as antonia just mention there's not much attention given to the americas and the attention given to the americas and particularly in mexico of anti-u.s. media is 90% negative. it's always about drugs. it's always about illegal immigrants. it's always about stealing our jobs and all that and to me, to really sort of turnaround this orientation we have to begin to turnaround the media as well. clearly those problematic things are true but then like how many people know that mexico is the fifth-largest exporter of automobiles in the world? the economic and as you are saying also on the political side, the progress of some of these countries have made, and the fact that in some ways they are becoming more like us.
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mexico and brazil, the venture capital industry is beginning to develop. a lot of things are happening but somehow this coverage never takes place. even if you look at the spanish media, you will only hear sensationalistic things about america. hispanics don't necessarily get to know the very progressive things that are happening in the region, so my question is, and i'm from d.c.. the press we get is like, we are talking -- walking on clouds. there are horrible problems also but all the media attention on china is almost all product and all the media attention on particularly mexico is always negative so how do we change that? >> well, i think you raised a
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critical critical issue and concern, and that is how the american public gets its news and its impressions of peoples and countries? one of the things that we hope to do in disseminating this was port is to focus on the media. you cannot have an american public that feels and understands the issue differently than it is portrayed so the media is going to be an important component to us. in many ways the politicians follow the perceptions and the views of the american public. our goal, even though it's a short-term goal but the long-term goal is to turn around the discussion and the debate and deal with it with the facts, actual facts and not misperceptions or perceptions. reality is so different from the way it is viewed, and so like other reports, we hope that this
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report will be a little different in the sense that it will incite conversations that will begin that debate, that public debate and i agree with you, going to the editorial boards of newspapers, television, talking heads, that is where the conversation should begin. >> my sense of that is in addition to what antonia said is that we need to strike a conversation about something that is common to everybody and what is everybody here care about? they care about the economy, they care about jobs. they care about things that are important so when we talked about india during the last 10 years and we talked about china in the last 10 years, we talked about the opportunities or u.s. companies to be able to go there and sell lots of goods and services, right clicks take the cover of almost every magazine and every newspaper etc.. this morning i was listening to
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you know, cnbc and they were talking about china and they didn't talk about india this morning but they talked about china. and again we have to bring the facts and the data talking the language that most people can relate to. that is one side or the other side, within the latino community we have to start talking about the glass as half-full as well, which means one of the most frequent conversations we will have is about our dropout rate, which is high and it's a problem to be solved. but i believe you need these issues to solve it. how many people in this room know that 50% of all high school graduates this year are going to be a latino's? when you start thinking that way about who is graduating and who is going into our workforce, it starts changing your perception.
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when you start adding to that, 30% of people entering into the college and university system, junior colleges and above, about 30% of the people going into that system this year are latino. that gives you a much different perspective than saying that everybody is a dropout. and i think, to your point, it is focusing on the issues that are important, workforce, economy, other things as we talk about ourselves, it has to start with us and also been other people start talking about it as well. >> right here and then right there and then we will go to the back after that. i see somebody's hand over there. i am sure there is a body attached to it. my apology. >> good morning. i am currently working at the ois. i was wondering if you could discuss the --
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of latin america and u.s. foreign policy especially if you could stress the case of the recent opinion in mexico and the coming elections in venezuela. >> well, you know every 12 years, the cycle of the potential new president in mexico and the united states takes place and this is the 12th year of mexico has elected a new president. and we are in the midst of an election. and then in venezuela the upcoming election. you know the relationship that the united states has with mexico is complex and nuanced. and mostly positive, neglectful but positive. and so once again, the media is always highlighting the negatives. i believe that there is a great
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opportunity for the united states to evolve with its relationship with mexico that focuses not just on -- doesn't just focus on migration but improving the rule of law. democratic institutions, building upon the phenomenal trade relationships. those are the things that i think will define the future of the united states and to some degree the future of mexico. whether it's mexico or the united states and canada, our futures are interwoven and that realization that they are interwoven, economically and politically. as far as venezuela, you know, in many ways, in my view the way to strengthen our relationship with venezuela is to strengthen
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our relationship with the other countries. more similar forms of government whether it be colombia, and to the degree that we continue to neglect the americas, the more opportunity that we give to other ways of thinking of how government should be formed. i think what has happened to some degree and some latin american countries is due to our neglect. i also think and really believe that our foreign policy should not look at latin america one, as a partnership and collaboration and not one of domination. you know, do it my way or no way. it has to be a partnership. these partnerships are maturing, powerful, growing democracies and countries and we should partner and a partnership is a
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two-way thing. it is a challenge, because we have not looked at relationships in that way with with the america so it calls for a total realignment on how we look at and deal with our neighbors to the south. >> you no, i think antonia articulated it very well. the only thing that i would add to our conversation is that we have to, and i apologize but i don't apologize at the same time -- i'm a business person businessperson so i always think about benchmarking. i always think about what is best and how do you optimize, how do you maximize? so when i think about born relations and i think about countries like venezuela, and i think about the turn that it took, i think about how sustainable is that if i were a leader there and if i were part
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of the populace there and i was a voting public. we start thinking about if oil becomes less important, pricing goes down, what happens to an economy like that over time and what happens to their relationships that they are seeking? what happens to a diversified economy, which is what other countries have started dealing with as opposed to being sold dependent on certain sectors. and we have ways to help stimulate that. we have ways to help create excitement with -- within economies, given some of the relationships and capabilities, technologies etc. that we can bring. so i look at it and say how were we always thinking about making things better, going in with perhaps different arguments like a business that gets stale. you run out of growth. you can can't keep on the same business model. you have to keep on evolving, keep on changing and i don't
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think politics are any different. i just think that you need people that are always thinking out of the box where there are problems. >> the woman right there. >> let me see how important i see your views are because i think you are bringing new, not only new ideas but a new perspective to the foreign-policy debate and i would like to focus on one particular enterprise that is now taking place which is the transpacific heart worship. the tdp is a -- between latin american countries and the nations so it is precisely taking care of what you said in the beginning, we need to look more to the south.
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i think this is not very well-known and not very -- the public today and you can see singapore, new england and chile and then the united states joints and now they are in the process with one of which is mexico and canada that has entered this process. here we have the possibility of having an association from three countries, north america, south america and asia. we will deepen trade relations which from my point of view is sort of a more global political negotiation. but here we also have this dilemma that it could be a partnership -- and i think there is too much
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emphasis that the united states is putting into this negotiation. [inaudible] but here i see a possibility. now in terms of the discussion of negotiations and in a few years the more common relationship, how does your pacific counsel and your group viewed the possibility that goes into what you see is important for a new foreign-policy, u.s. foreign policy? >> which is really the first manifestation we have seen of the u.s. reaching out to the western hemisphere and the pacific at the same time. sort of the new access for action. >> and i think it shows sort of kind of the future direction. the united states was not the original one.
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and to realize that something is happening, the alliance in the americas whether it be brazil looking to china or other partners and the realization you know within our government that we need to be part of those discussions and critical to those discussions. the challenge that i see is that number one, those discussions are happening and it's really wonderful. but very little public attention is being given to it. i don't know because i'm not part of government, how significant in the amount of resources are given to these initiatives because those economic alliances, whether it's with trade, whether its intellectual property, a whole variety of issues, will determine to a large degree our ability to enhance our trading and economic ties with these countries, and i must emphasize you know, the issue of a partnership of a give and take.
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and the united states is not accustomed to going and, having its -- mad med and if they don't taking their marbles and going home. it's that, listening to the needs of the other countries and coming to a mutually understanding that embodies the interest of all of the countries to the benefit of all of the countries. >> i will just comment on the ip issue that you raised. i am a believer that ip is critical, because it is what differentiates companies and it's what differentiates countries and it's what differentiates almost everything in unique ways, meaning that is where you have value. somebody says, i invest my capital to develop something and then everybody can take advantage of it. pretty soon you have generic everything and you have lack of
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innovation and the only thing that right now is really sustaining our economy is the innovative portion of our economy. and so whether it be in terms of creating content, whether it be in terms of creating products and services, you know the ip element is what i would call court dna for the united states of america. and that is the only thing that is keeping us moving, given some of the other problems that we have right now. if you look at other countries that have emerged, they have emerged maybe in some cases because of natural resources. they have emerged simply because they are structuring their government so they can become productive and in perhaps other ways other than just a creation of a ip, but there are different ways for countries to compete. but i would say as a principle
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for the united states, ip is going to be our value add, not only two decades ago or 10 decades ago, but it's going to be important to us 10 decades from now in terms of sustaining growth, adding value and creating our competitive capabilities in the global markets because we aren't going to be the low-cost provider other than because we have developed ip, and because we are not about taking our labor rates down to a dollar a day or a dollar an hour or whatever it might be. so, i would say that this is important for trade. i think it's important for other countries as they have faults and start developing their own forms of ip. >> lets take two questions together. there was a hand in the back next to gabriela and we will do
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a cluster over there. >> hello, my name is laura. i am work in happy genocide watch right now and my question, you spoke about free trade agreements. but my question is, who benefits from this free trade agreement? because i know that when we do for instance the free trade agreement put in place between the united states and colombia, is in a way if benefits the companies here, but the farmworkers are subsidized here in the united states but what about the farmworkers who are not subsidized in countries like in colombia, who really benefit? ..
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>> i would like to ask you about the social, the civil, the civil society organizations. i like very much this, you know, perspective about democracy and the strength of the rule of law. the rule of law, the democracy is going with the strength of the civil society organizations. and i think that the new foreign policy perspective is needed on the civil society organizations.
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how to -- [inaudible] these not going only l by the governments or by the entrepreneurs, but another organization among people, among people organized around democracy issues. >> well, let me start by saying that, you know, the united states is so unique in many ways, and we keep talking about economics, but the united states is sort of the foundation of a lot of wonderful attributes that are going worldwide. philanthropy is one. philanthropy is uniquely american. the third sector, the nonprofit sector, the creation of a third sector is very much an american one. and one of the things that i've, you know, sort of i've been involved in in the issue of migration, you know, for quite some time is the evolution of a
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civil society particularly in mexico. in the last 30 years. and to me, um, the growth of civil society, the checks and balances happens when you have the strong democratic form of government and where the people actually get to choose their elected officials and are responsive, and the elected officials are responsive to their people. and i think, you know, particularly in mexico which is i'm most familiar with, um, there's a lot of room for growth. but to the degree that the united states emphasizes and assists in strengthening the judiciary, strengthening the judicial process, strengthening, you know, sort of local police enforcement with checks and balances, that that will in a lot of ways improve and enhance economic growth. they go hand in hand. and, you know, there's a lot of
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interactions between, as you know, philanthropy and civil society and the support. i also think that with the growth of economics, economic growth in countries south of the border that the whole philosophy that we have in this country -- which to some degree we're losing, and it is a to be a true economic leader -- is to be a philanthropic, civic-engaged leader. and a certain responsibility of the business sector to engage and fund either the creation, formation and growth of civil society in all countries whether it be colombia, brazil, chile, you name it. civil society plays an extraordinarily important role in the checks and balances. and i'm proud to say that those two attributes, characteristics are uniquely american. i mean, look at the growth of -- i come right now from philanthropy, that's why i speak
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of philanthropy. but the growth, you know, in philanthropy throughout the world whereas before it was uniquely american. and the third sector. where you see the growth and the strength of the third sector, you will see a vibrant society. and, in fact, you know, um, i think in russia in the last week, you know, president putin put, signed into law that not-for-profit groups that receive foreign, um, you know, sort of donations will now have to sign up as, you know, foreign agents. so stifling of the third sector. so i would say for latin america and south america strengthening of the third sector is critical to a vibrant, democratic civil government. >> i guess the only other thing that i would adhere is this notion that you introduced which is the, the notion of a nation of of laws, the rule of law in a
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civil society, i think, is very important. and that's, you know, part of the founding principles of our, you know, nation's constitution as well as the bill of rights, and i'll say it in two dimensions. the rights of individuals and the rights of companies. by personal belief is it's very hard to develop robust economies that are sustainable unless there is clarity in a civil society about the rights of individuals and the rights of of companies. because then you can have ownership whether it be of things like intellectual property or things like as individuals, actual physical properties that you own that cannot be taken just by fiat or by some demand by a governing kind of entity and body. and i think then the incentive,
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the innovation, the entrepreneurship, everything comes with it because i do have rights as a company or as an individual. >> let's take a round here. there are some hands up here and hands in the back and hand over here. okay, we'll move over to this row. so we'll do a full round. >> [inaudible] defense university, and i remember there's a lot of talk about migration, jobs and the economy. and in particular what i got from that was that we need a new source of labor, but also a cheap source of labor. i was wondering what do can you see happening if we start to define our relationships with the countries to the south of us solely in terms of their ability to apply -- [inaudible] cheap source of labor? do you see any problems with that for the people and for
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policymakers? >> let me first and foremost, to be clear, we have not advocated that, meaning that our relationship is based on a source of cheap labor. what we have advocated is the fact that we do need sources of labor, and labor that comes in many flavors and forms. meaning highly skilled and, you know, different skill sets. and in some cases unskilled but trainable workers. so i would say as we think about labor and, and human capital movement. as it relates to our relationships, you know, the point of emphasis here has been we have significant/substantial relationships on trade where there's financial benefit in terms of job creation in the united states, in terms of wealth creation in the united
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states based upon the trade relationships that have existed and are growing. and given the gdp growth in the various economies in the americas, there's more opportunity that's available if we can focus better, if we can enhance some of the relationships and policies and agreements that we have either in certain places or don't exist with some of the countries to the south. >> let's, the hand back there, and then we'll go over to this side. gentleman in the back behind the camera. >> hello. my name is juan from the voice of america. so my question is also in the direction of civil society, but i was thinking more in lobbies, pressure groups, these kind of sectors.
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as the population grows and the importance -- [inaudible] i think, for example, immigration reform. everybody knows this country needs immigration reform. it's stuck in congress maybe because it's too much in the political debate. is there not somebody, some group that is able to push and say, hey, we need to get this done, let's get it done? you know what i mean? like, is there no groups of people that is able to organize and act in this kind of way? >> well, i'll just start by saying that, unfortunately, in this country there's very few groups of people that can get our country to come to terms on any issue. [laughter] i mean, we are just in a phase of polarized. and we need to get beyond that to solve issues. i mean, you know, there's different perspectives on the growth of the latino community and the expectations of what the latino community can do in its collective, you know, power.
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um, what, what's sol -- what sol and i are trying to do is to present facts, facts about our community, this population and our opportunity and ability to assist and add value in improving our relationships to the south. what we're trying to do is to get the public and our elected officials to look at this issue from a different perspective. um, immigration reform is central not just for the latino communities. and as you all know, not all latinos are -- i mean, not all immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, are latinos. and not all immigrants that come to this country are cheap labor. look at silicon valley, you know? vast majority, a vast part of that population are immigrants that to some degree started
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silicon valley. if you talk to the business community whether it's high-skilled jobs or low-of skilled jobs -- low-skilled jobs, there is some mismatch many this country between its working population and the needs of its community. we have a lot of things we need to do domestically. from our perspective, it's more investment in educating the latino community and those commitments who have not, you know, sort of gotten into education. we know in this country education is the key to upward mobility. we know that we need to push education in order to move forward. it's not just the latino issue. it's now an american issue because the latino population is such a large percentage of the demographics of this country. and that's what we're trying to do, is to elevate the conversation and, hopefully,
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rational minds will prevail. >> i would just add to that in a sense that part of what we're trying to do to your portion about organization, we're trying to bring facts and data to various organizations, and in this case we're leveraging one called the pacific council. which has a fairly broad perspective, and it's multidisciplined perspective, and it's multigeographiccal perspective. and so, you know, there's the pacific council, there's many other organizations that we're going to bring this information to so that we can eliminate myths in some cases. so, for example, on immigration a myth that says all these immigrants are social dependents, they're taker, not givers. meaning they're a negative effect on the economy. that is absolutely not correct. i could say that une give cablgly.
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the second thing, you know, in terms of a myth is that they're taking our jobs. again, a myth be, not reality in the sense that there's many jobs that go unfilled, and those that have questions might want to look at alabama and georgia in the last year after they passed legislation and workers left. nobody wanted those jobs. nobody wanted to work those kinds of pieces of work. so there's plenty of data that helps people start crystallizing the fact that maybe these, this reform is critical for our agricultural economy, for our retail sector of our economy, for the construction sector of our economy, for the ip, you know, entrepreneurial sector of our economy. all of this is data that needs to be brought to the table in an organized fashion, in a logical fashion, and also then helping understand the human capital flows that are going to be critical for all of our industries as we move forward.
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and it's taking the conversation to another level, using organizations that already exist and creating a dialogue that is not emotion-based, but it's always based on what's best for our country, what's best for our economy and what's best for every individual living here in the u.s. >> let's take a final round here. um, there were several people starting here that had their hand -- a gentleman over there, alessandro here. so go ahead. >> hi, i'm laura burke from the department of state. i have a few questions, and thank you for drawing attention to the latino community and formulating foreign policy. one question is about measurement and how you measure the level of government engagement, what diagnostic tools are you using, and so that you can put that data forward. every region i've ever worked with i hear that the region is
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neglected. so it would be helpful, um, to have measurement tools that you could put forward to enhance the discussion. and can then the second is -- and then the second is in terms of the latino contribution to foreign policy, i imagine it would be, that the diaspora element is very important, and the secretary does have a diaspora initiative where she's looking at what diaspora communities contribute in terms of foreign policy. but there's also this, um, idea of of a global, um, latino contribution to global foreign policy rather than a niche kind of question related to the region. and i'm thinking of maria otero who's one of our highest-ranking officers in that, in the department of state, and she deals with global issues. so she brings a special sensibility because of the background that she has and deals with this issue so well. so the question would be, would a latino foreign policy only be looking at the region, or would it be looking at the world? >> well, latinos have interests
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that cross all sectors, and the mistake and sort of the misperception is that we only have, you know, sort of a kind of a moy croppic interest -- myopic interest. we focus on the americas for the simple reason that, you know, there are certain attributes that we in general have which is language, culture, to some degree religion, affinity, familial ties. and so it's a much more nuanced relationship in understanding of the issues and the problems. and i understand, you know, the, um, you know, sort of the question as to metrics, but you talk to anyone involved in foreign affairs, and i don't think you need metrics to come to the conclusion that the americans seldom get the type of interest and understanding as it
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relates to latin america. um, you know, and yet we have a few latinos in the state department, but i would say it's a matter of fact and looking at the data the number of latinos at the state department is very low. and and that goes to all of the federal government. and the failure to include latinos in our government whether it be the department of education, state department, you know, it's an ironic statement to say that the highest concentration of latinos is in homeland security and immigration control. [laughter] i mean, that tells you a lot. so -- >> well, i would just add to this notion of metrics, i think that's a great question. um, and i think that, um, it should require some introspection by in particular as we think about the government and we look at, you know, individuals that are engaged within the departments.
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as we think about the amount of time spent, resources allocated, you know, it's like in a company, you know? when you have products, you know, you line up resources depending upon the size of the product. in this case, our trade in the americas is dramatically important, right? i mean, and it's growing. so the question is, do we allocate resources thinking about all the layers of policy in our government, and do we allocate resources to it? or do we spend most of our resources on less important in an economic sense other parts of the world, and maybe even less important in terms of national security parts of the world. so i'm not trying to be simplistic just because i'm a business person about, you know, economics. i think the other thing that, you know, this leads to is, in fact, you know, what are the criteria upon which we spend our time. i would argue if you and i went
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and looked at the president's speeches so far this year whereas since he became president and you said show me the number of words that are associated of all the words he's given in speeches associated with latin america, my bet is it's dramatically underthought about and reflected upon and taught about. that would be a bet i'd make without having done the research. at the same time, when we look at congress and we look at, you know, the amount of time spent on various issues, you know, the difficulty we've had on getting trade agreements through, in particular relative to latin america. i mean, i think there is kind of some anecdotal data that would give us indicators, but i think, you know, some of these
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questions -- in particular, how would we measure allocation resources like you would in a business -- well, that's a good question. >> let's take two questions together. there were a hand there and then we'll finish with alejandro here. [speaking spanish] finish with a flourish. >> thank you so much. i represent, i'm with the idb as well, but i'm also representing states at the idb. and for legit macety purposes of building a question as well. [laughter] i'm,ing first of all, i want to commend the work that the pacific council and you all are doing in the task force. i think it's a, it really is critical. latin america is absolutely critical for the future of our country for the reasons that were already said earlier, specifically the commercial ties that we have. and it's the reason why, you know, i've been involved with latin america as a professional for many years and why i chose to join the administration.
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i didn't just want to whine about a lack of engagement, i actually wanted to do something about it. and so i commend their work. i actually met in california with pam starr and -- [inaudible] who were working on this very important report. >> with yes. >> and so i'm very excited, i'm looking forward to receiving the report which i -- well, whenever it comes out, i'll be looking forward to that. you know, on the issue of the number of latinos in the administration and in particular on the foreign policy apparatus of the united states, i don't disagree that we could do a better job reflecting the diversity in our country in, in the state department, but i do want to point out that all of the primary individuals involved at the white house, at the idb, at the state department until very recently, at the defense department and at treasury are all latinos. all of them. and this is part of an effort on the part of the administration to -- because i think the
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administration really does believe, i know secretary clinton beliefs very strongly that latinos can be very effective ambassadors, if you will, for dealing with latin america. on the, on the particular -- since day one on the job i've been trying to connect latinos with latin america, and i can tell you, it's challenging. i think some communities have traditionally had a very strong link. my own cuban-american community, i think, is one. but it's been a challenge. and i would encourage you in particular to work on a strategy on convincing folks, especially on capitol hill, about that important link. and i think that's something that, you know, i would think you really should focus on. um, now, i -- just very briefly, i disagree that we have not been engaged sufficiently with the region. i can tell you from my vantage point perhaps we haven't done a very good job of telling the story, but very few people
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probably know that we took the lead in doubling lending at the idb to latin america from $6 billion to $12 billion precisely because we know that as the region grows, demand for goods and services will also grow. and also in terms of speeches, um, you know, the president went to latin america, went to el salvador, went to chile and went to brazil. and perhaps this was a subtle message, but i think the message was, you know, here we have three very different kinds of governments, one of the left, one of the right and one of the center politically speaking. but the message was so long as these countries follow the rule of law and respect democracy, we're willing to work with lots of different kinds of governments. we're not going to decide we're going to favor only one type versus another so long as there's respect for the rule of law and also democracy. it's a subtle message and something that takes a long time to, you know, to sink in. um, and finally, in terms of, you know, the my way or the
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highway approach versus, i think, what we're trying to do, i think, again, it's a subtle message, but i really do believe we've been working behind the scenes with governments trying to give them support, working with them to empower them to come to the table and to feel more comfortable. i can tell you, for example, the g20 meetings working very closely with brazil and with mexico to give them a greater voice because they, you know, we want them to feel that they are very much partners at the table. so i guess i actually have no question. [laughter] >> well, thank you, gustavo. alejandro, why don't you go, and then we'll give solomon and antonia a chance to respond. >> thank you. i have a question and then just a comment. my question is, if you have found allies or partners for the task force in particular and in general the latino community when trying to have an impact on
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foreign policy formulation? if you do collaborate with actors from latin america. i'm not talking governments because i suppose that you do cooperate with the embassies here, and you try to coordinate or whatever, but actors from the two sectors that you have mentioned a lot, civil society and business. so i would be particularly interested in business people from mexico, brazil, chile and so on. do they have an agenda? do they try to have an agenda here? or are they completely absent from this process? because there are big corporations in latin america, and i would suppose they would have interests that they try to promote them. that was my question. and can then my comment is that i've been here three week, and the most recurrent comment or concern is that policymakers and
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the people, the public in general in the u.s. just simply don't see how important mexico and latin america is. it has been an issue in the four or five events that i've been attending here in these three weeks, so it's all over the place. so how come they are not -- i mean, what's, what's going on? why do they -- why don't they see the elephant in the room, more or less? or was it different before? i mean, was it -- is this neglect something few? i mean, was it more important before 2001, before everyone 9/? or i can tell by your nods that it wasn't. so if it, i mean, if it has never been important and should be important now? i don't know. it just shocked me in these past few days that this is the message, you know? they doesn't see how important
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mexico and latin america in general is. >> i'll start on the -- i want to go back to gustavo for a second and then specifically address the business part of this. um, you know, our intent here is not to be critical of the current government, it's not to be critical of anybody. to be constructive in terms of how we think about focus and intent. and it's very nonpartisan because i think in a partisan context both sides have been very lacking and not strong enough in terms of dealing with this. and we've had multiple administrations on both sides, so very equal opportunity in terms of how we think about, about the conversation. in terms of your question, you know, in the case of mexico there has been a lot of work over the years where there's
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even what's called the u.s./mexico chamber of commerce. it has high profile people involved at least from mexico, people you may have heard of like carlos lin and ricardo salinas and others from the mexican side of government. not of government, of the private enterprise. and in the u.s. side there have been some, you know, as latino business people, hispanic business people and some non-hispanic involved. but it's never received what i would call high-level visibility. which gets to the rest of your question. if you look at brazil, if you look at other major countries to the south, i'm not sure there's been a great initiative on their part to essentially connect in
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with community here. it's been more of i'm a big country, i can come in, and i can lobby directly and build my relationships, um, perhaps in a different way. but i think the bigger issue that has been crosscutting for decades has been the fact that even though it is significant, even though there's dramatic growth it just doesn't hit the radar screen as measured by working for metrics, let's say the amount of speeches, the amount of visits, the amount of time. and even in the media where you look and occasionally you'll see brazil, see it in, you know, on a cover of a magazine. but it's, you know, 70, 80% of the time if you're talking about brick countries, you're talking about india and china. people have forgotten and not even noticed the fact that mexico's gdp growth has been
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impressive. and people haven't noticed to a great extent what's happened, you know, with the miracles in colombia and chile and some of the other countries that have just developed very strong economies that have solidified their governments and the democracy. so part of what we're also going to be doing is trying to work with the media in the sense of bringing forth the data, correlating it against other stories that they have told so that this is really a true democracy and economic miracle that's been happening to the south, and it correlates with everything that's important to us in the u.s., and perhaps there should be more knowledge, more recognition and finding ways to catalyze what's
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happening more so than what we're doing today. >> antonia, final remarks? >> well, i would say that, you know, the end game, our goal with this report and bringing together this task force is to inform the public about the importance of the relationship of latinos, the united states and our neighbors to the south. and hopefully, engage in a conversation that is more rational. and when you, you know, sort of like, it's sort of like a familial neglect. you focus on where the trouble is, and you kind of take for granted the closest people to you. and i think that that's what has happened. and the point that we're trying to make is that's no longer acceptable. the future of this country is tied to the future of the americas.
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economically, politically and other side. otherwise. and within that future the role of the latino community both domestically and in foreign affairs is just as important, and that we should be seeing not just a community of issues and problems and that the press cannot just report the negative and create that perception of takers rather than participants and contributors to the future growth of this country. and can that's what we're trying to do here. it is the beginning of a conversation. we're going to issue the report hopefully within the next, you know, month and a half, two months. we want to take advantage of the political climate to find avenues for engaging in this conversation x -- and we hope that you will be our partners in
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trying to get a different conversation when it comes to the latino community in the united states and its role in foreign affairs. >> want to thank everyone who's taken part in this, our partners at the pacific council, jen who's with us, and jerry green who's with the pacific council and jessica. miguel salazar who organized this, and above all, antonia and sol for bringing to us these interesting findings. the report will be out in the fall. we look forward to sharing that with you. we think that there are some very important elements here and, hopefully, this will be one more element as well as we move into electoral season on both sides of the aisle to listen to the findings of this task force. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> coming up on c-span2 today, senate intelligence committee chairman dianne feinstein is speaking at the world affairs council in washington, d.c. on u.s. global intelligence and security issues. her committee has oversight of the cia and national security agency. that's live at 12:30 eastern. >> and the u.s. senate is back in session today at 2:00. at 5 eastern this afternoon, the chamber will take up consideration of a federal district court nomination for new jersey. the senate will likely spend much of the week on legislation dealing with the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts as well as president obama's proposal to extend tax cuts for families making under $250,000. watch live senate coverage beginning at 2 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. >> and over on c-span3 at 1:00,
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the brookings institution hosts a discussion on campaign ads. researchers will talk about data on voter responses to ads and how o effective they are. >> we are -- [inaudible] it's like an electronic eye. you install it in this your car, and then your car can see. once your car can see, it can help you avoid accidents with cars, with pedestrians, with bicyclists. it's computer science for you and tells you what traffic -- >> collision prevention, web streaming thousands of channels, smartphones with a 21-hour bat rye life and social media-based polling, the latest from the consumer electronics association technology fair on capitol hill tonight at 8 eastern on "the communicators" on c-span2. ♪ ♪ >> watch booktv and american
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history tv the weekend of august 4th and 5th as c-span's local content vehicles explore the heritage and literary culture of louisville, kentucky, home of churchill downs, the louisville slugger and its oldest independent bookstore, carmichaels. >> with a lot of the stores that i've seen fail are stores that were opened by people who were interested in having a business, not that they had an attachment to a books or a love of books, but, you know, they were business people. i think you really have to have kind of a gut attachment to books to care enough about them because your customers are like that. i mean, they come because they really care about books. >> watch for booktv and american history tv in louisville august 4th and 5th on c-span2 and 3. >> next, a discussion on the ongoing violence in syria. last week russia and china again
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posed u.n. sanctions on syria, and top officials of bashar al assad's government were assassinated. we hear from david enders who recently returned from a month of reporting alongside the rebels. the foundation for defense of democracies hosted this event. it also includes former vice president cheney's national security adviser, john hannah. [inaudible conversations] >> all right, let's get started. a few more people outside may come in. i'm cliff may, i'm the president of the foundation for defense of democracies. i just want to welcome everybody and thank you all for being here. this is certainly timely, and i'm glad we have planned this. the foundation for defense of democracies, most people are familiar with us, but we were form inside the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. we focus only and exclusively on national security and foreign policy. we worry about terrorism, we worry about those regimes and movements and ideologies that are seeking the downfall, the
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destruction of america, israel the, the free west and other free nations. with that, i'm going to pass the microphone to john hannah, senior fellow who is going to moderate and, hopefully, also offer his own interesting opinions and introduce our guests as well. thank you. >> okay. thanks very much, cliff. um, your knack for scheduling the timeliness of these things never ceases to amaze me. this is, as you said, an extremely timely session. let me join you in the welcoming everybody here to the foundation for defense of democracies for what i'm sure is going to be a fascinating discussion on a rapidly-moving situation inside of syria. over just the past week or so, we've witnessed a series of extraordinary developments. the commencement of sustained, pitched battles in the streets of damascus, a decapitation
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strike against the regime's inner sanctum which included at least three key figures while jurying other confidants and enforcers, and what eye peers to be as of yesterday the takeover of civil syrian voter posts with turkey and iraq. after 16 months of a horrifically-brutal slog in which one of the most heavily-armed police states hearse he isly unleashed firepower day after day, the end game for the assad regime may now at long last be upon us. i think a lot of people have been caught out by how quickly this inflection point has been reached and how rapidly things now appear to be coming apart for the regime. but for those who have followed the situation more closely, i think there's a bit less surprise at work. i remember myself tking to some of my colleagues here at
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fdd in the first week of june, sifting through random snippets of evidence and can raising the possibility -- and raising the possibility that amidst all the horrific daily death tolls, something may have begun to shift, a corner may have been turned in terms of the weaknesses of the regime, the amount of territory that had been lost or ceded to the opposition's control and the inevitability that assad's fall was coming and, perhaps, if we're lucky, even much sooner than most of us had once thought possible. by mid june those kinds of hunches were being confirmed in the writings of some of washington's west military analysts -- best mill care analysts who have followed each twist and turn in the daily struggle between the fsa and the regime. people like joe holiday at the institute for the study of war and jeff white at the washington institute. today we're very fortunate to have with us someone else, david
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enders, who's closely followed and chronicled the evolution of this war, who, indeed, has witnessed it firsthand and comes from us more or less directly from the front lines. it's a all-too-rare opportunity in washington to hear the insightssights and observationsf someone who's spent a month on the ground with syria's rebels and has an immediate and intimate feel for the dynamics of that strug and where it may be headed in the coming weeks and months. perhaps even more important, david has very direct experience and knowledge of the rebels themselves and can perhaps shed some light at least on the $64,000 question that's bedeviled analysts and policymakers alike for the better part of the last year and a half. and without question has served as one of the biggest obstacles and constraints less charitable people might say excuses on u.s. decision making towards this crisis, and that's the question of who are these people? what do they believe? what kind of syria do they want to see?
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and what will likely happen if they get control of the state, and what will it mean for u.s. interests? of course, even if i'm right and in the immortal words of frank sinatra, that great historian of middle east despots, assad is about to start singing the opening lines to "my way." you all know it, you can sing along. and now the end is near, and so i face the final cur curtain. the fact is no one can predict how many acts this end game is going to have, exactly how long it will last or how it will ultimately be resolved. a lot of the story remains to be written. how it unfolds could have dramatic impact on the the future of syria and the region. assad may be going, but he's not gone yet, and in between here and there he retains an enormous capacity to wreak havoc and instability on a scale that would make the carnage of the past 16 months look like small potatoeses. fears that he may deemployee his arsenal of chemical weapons,
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ballistic missiles and perhaps even some biological agent against the population have all become too plausible. even short of that, the unleashing of his air force and artillery in a dresden-style bombing campaign of major urban areas or the dramatic escalation by pro-regime militias of an ethnic cleansing spree that leads to massacres not just in the hundreds, but the thousands, are all real possibilities as are the dangers of a major escalation beyond syria's borders as the rapidly-deteriorating situation compels some neighboring countries to act in defense of their own strategic interests. of course, we may get lucky, may dodge a bullet, maybe assad will wake up tomorrow or the next day or next week and decide to pick up his family and board a russian jet that takes them into exile in moscow or caracas or tehran. maybe the collapse of this regime will happen not with a bang, but with a whimper. but i think you'd be hard pressed right now to find many syria analysts prepared to give you odds on that eventuality.
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it's hard, if not impossible, after watching the trajectory of this conflict for 16 months to believe that it ends well for anyone or that there's still not enormous bloodshed and tragedy in front of us with the only question being how much and with what consequences for syria and the region. so i'll be very interested to hear from our panelists what they believe the immediate future likely holds in store for us, what the likely contingencies are and what, if anything, the rest of the world may be able to do about them. um, lost a page from my presentation, excuse me. to discuss all these questions and more including important questions about u.s. policy and what the u.s. can and should be doing, it's a pleasure to be joined by a great panel of experts.
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i've already mentioned first up we'll have david enders, journalist and pulitzer prize grantee on crisis reporting who will be providing us with a firsthand account of his extended period on the ground with syria's rebels. david currently writes for mcclatchy, and we're delighted to welcome him here to fdd. i'll also acknowledge the assistance of marc siegel for arranging and helping to have david join us here. after david's report, i'll turn to two of my outstanding colleagues at fdd, first will be ammar abdul abdulhamid, senior w at fdd. ammar writes the blog syria revolution digest, and his perspectives and role with syria's political and its armed opposition have been vital and crucial. finally, we'll hear from reuel gerecht, one of washington's most prolific, knowledgeable and very happily provocative
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commentators on middle east affairs. as most of you know, he's a former operative in the cia's clandestine service, and he most recently wrote a very interesting and even compelling piece in the wees journal on getting -- in "the wall street journal" on getting the cia much more deeply involved in resolving the syria conflict in a way that begins to meet some u.s. interests. after our speakers finish, i'll ask some questions initially to get the conversation going, and then we'll happily open it up to your questions from the audience. just wait for me to call on you. please, identify yourself. we do have cameras rolling. let me also remind everyone that the session's on the record, and if you haven't done so already, please, silence your cell phones. with that, let me turn it over to david enders. >> first of all, thank you for having me. um, if you can't hear me in the back, just, i don't know, give me a signal. i'll try to stay close to the mic. i should correct that's pulitzer
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center, not pulitzer prize. of course, quite an honor. [laughter] i appreciate that. so i've spent, i've been in syria four times since the middle of february. three times crossing illegally, once on a visa. um, i find it's almost easier to work going in illegally. you don't have the constraints of a ministry threatening to arrest you or running the very real risk of arrest for trying to do any real reporting, um, especially now that the united nations monitors are no longer moving. um, when they were there, journalists were sort of allowed to draft off them and move around, um, and so that made it a little easier as far as freedom of movement, and we did find there was some freedom of movement if you were prepared to take risks. but then we were also detained and nearly arrested which would have been, obviously, very bad
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for my syrian colleagues. so that's given me about maybe two months of, almost two months of actual reporting inside the country. largely in the areas around homs, not actually in homs itself. the rebels have not allowed, um, journalists to travel with them into ho o ms itself -- homs itself since the end of february. we've made repeated requests to try and get in there, but being in the area around it does give a pretty good sense of what's going on, and i was able to visit it briefly while following the monitors and kind of get an idea of at least some of the destruction that's taken place. um, as john was saying, um, what we're seeing in the last few days does not come as a terrible surprise. in the last months, as most of
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june, and what we saw was that north of homs and especially north of hama, the rebels control a considerable amount of territory and are beginning to function as a de facto government in some areas, especially rural areas. um, they were in a number of city centers until february and march when they were pushed out. and what seem to be happening is the rebellion just keeps growing. i mean, everywhere you go they still say we have more men who are willing to fight than we actually have weapons for them. and i think that's very true. and we see tens of thousands of refugees going to turkey, going to lebanon. the turkish refugee camps have become, um, incubators for the rebels. they've become places where they train, share information. they've become staging grounds, um, crossing the turkish border seems to be increasingly easy.
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um, we were briefly detained by the turks, by turkish soldiers coming out who didn't really know what to do with us, told the syrian guys i was with to go back over the border, wait five minutes for their commander to leave and walk back. and while they were detaining us, there were a whole bunch of other guys who were running across. you know, the soldiers are occupied, let's go. so, i mean, there's more people coming across the turkish border than they can really handle. and i, you know, that's, i think, an indicator of just what's going on. um, as far as the fighting in damascus, it's still confined, i think, to neighborhoods that have been very anti-regime since the beginning. i was in car music in may --
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yarmuk in may, and there was a lot of tension. there were demonstrations, there was a lot of rock throwing, there were some small bombings presumably by the rebels against, um, syrian security forces inside those neighborhoods. so, and at that time the people there were very in support of having the ssa inside their neighborhoods. they wanted them there. the neighborhoods were also very much full of refugees from homs, from hama, from other parts of the country. so i think that's another reason you're seeing these neighborhoods specifically, um, start to fight. and although now the fighting has come to damascus and symbolically that's extremely important and it makes it very hard for people on the fence to ignore, um, which is one thing you hear the rebels talk about is now that it's move today damascus, people can't pretend
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like this isn't happening, that it's not real. there's no guarantee that this is going to be very quick. i mean, i think we're looking at something that's very protracted. there are a number of people, um, who are part of a very large government security apparatus who are probably looking around right now going i'm dead or i'm forced to leave the country, obviously, if these rebels succeed. um, so unfortunately, i think we may be just looking at, um, the beginning of a much more serious situation, a much more serious conflict where people everywhere are just forced to pick sides or flee. and so i'll leave it there and, um, pass it along. >> ammar? >> okay, sure. well, um, i want to start by
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some of these things david has said in terms of the reach of -- better? in terms of the reach of the actual rebels and what that means really, especially when it concerns the developments of the last few days. one thing is very clear, and yesterday i was actually watching a youtube video that was produced on the 18th of the rebels in the north, especially in the north part, they have come together and formed a unified council of the north -- [inaudible] and they've sort of carried a sew of faith. and you can see -- a show of faith. and you can see convoys for ten minutes, basically, the vid crow is -- video is that long. and you can see the convoys of vehicles by the camera, and it's all rebel forces. so that's something that, you know, there are about 150 cars involved, you know? so that's very impressive for,
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you know, that part of the country. and now that they are not only willing to show this thing publicly, but at the same time to hold such a large showing of force. so the northern parts of syria more or less are really now under rebel control. different, however, rebel rules in the north n that part of -- [inaudible] they are trying to come together. they have formed the unified command, and you can tell from the names as well that they tend to be now islamic in character. and the level of -- [inaudible] that's taken place at the same time is one of those that we have to keep monitoring because it seems to me that this is going to be a trend that's going to continue. and it's bred by the fact that a lot of the people are more specifically to islamic groups, and at the same time the increasing frustration with the
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international community and the fact that no one is doing anything to support the rebels. they are really being pushed into -- [inaudible] that gives them some support and some comfort in the days ahead which is, as usual, god and jihad. so it's a very surprising development. many the theties and towns -- cities and towns have come under rebel control. the kurdish area, i'll talk about that in a few minutes, because now the kurdish areas in all of the country have a lot of populations have taken control of even the political security apparatuses, the police stations, and they have thrown away the assad officials completely. before that, before yesterday, in fact, it was the uneasy coexistence between sort of the -- [inaudible] security forces and the kurdish leaders and activists.
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but now, you know, that's no longer there. the people simply took control of the situation and their countries. and i think that one of the things that has facilitated this move was the recent agreement signed between the -- [inaudible] especially the faction known as the syrian equivalent of the pkk and a faction called the kurdish national council combined one other turkish opposition group in syria. by signing an accord -- [inaudible] under the patronage of the president, they have formed sometimes unity governments with their own -- [inaudible] so now we have a kurdish region that definitely is autonomous and has, you know, taken control. i've seen videos also of fighters being trained locally, so they are --
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[inaudible] so the kurdish have also separated you can say and have created their own -- [inaudible] so you have this and then you have in the north as before the northern part of -- [inaudible] coming under the control of rebel groups. you have in the rebel city itself, gradually falling to the controls of the local resistance and the fsa or 60% of the neighborhoods now really are under the control of people -- [inaudible] to the revolution and, you know, language demonstrations, in fact, taking place. and this is a development that's happened in in the last 48 hours. so, you know, the situation is that nude, you -- is that fluidu know, as we're talking about it right now. so, you know, we're talking about -- [inaudible] one thing that's very clear is
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all of these areas under rebel control are being bombarded. not the kurdish areas, but these areas of aleppo, all of them are being bombarded. the rebels cannot stop. they can take control of the cities, but they do not return heavy artillery -- [inaudible] helicopter gunships from -- [inaudible] this is a challenge. so the regime cannot really take over and, you know, reestablish control of these towns. but the rebels, when they established control, they cannot protect it against the mortar shells and against missiles. and unless there is a will on part of the international community to begin striking the heavy artillery positions, to strike the airports from which the helicopter gunships are coming or at least to give the rebels -- [inaudible] so they can take care of the job on their own, we are talking
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about a very worse situation, we're talking about a situation that will continue to be deadly, we're talking about a situation where control on other side means absolutely nothing. bashar assad is still there, capable of wreaking havoc but not capable of establishing real control. the rebels are establishing physical control, but they're not capable of fending off against the mortar rounds and the missiles. so the dissolution of the country will continue. the ethnic cleansing will also continue. this is the other part of the story, and perhaps during the question and answer session you can tell us more about your own observations, but the ethnic cleansing is happening in the area. [inaudible] perhaps correct impression that the ethnic cleansing is happening in central syria and that assad really wants to -- [inaudible] i mean, already three-quarters of the population, the sunni population have left the city,
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and, in fact, it's been razed to the ground the area that we have left. all the sunni neighborhoods, basically, that grew up against the -- [inaudible] there's been continuous bombardment, nonstop shelling for almost two months now of homs and surrounding towns. the idea is to give, to destroy it completely, frankly, the city. not simply to take them over. there is not enough numbers, basically, for the resistance to take over these cities. so the idea is to simply raze them to the ground and make sure that there is no place for the sunni population to come back to. ethnic cleansing is also happening north of homs in the hama province, and the idea is to put as much of the population as is possible to the -- [inaudible]
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it's a plan b that all is coming with plan a at the same time. plan a is to reestablish control of the country and make sure the opposition is defeated. this is not happening. but plan b is to make sure that there is a majority -- [inaudible] on the coastal areas areas and e central part of syria. and this is the plan that seems to be working. however, even with this plan and now with assad being more and more embattled, it's really hard to see how the, you know, considering the resistance that's still taking place inside homs itself and the fact that after two months of pounding and shelling the control has not been reestablished, you know, you would wonder at what point assad would realize, well, they're not going to give up. and yet this is the only plan i have, so what am i going to do? this is where the wmd situation gets into consideration. and when you consider the fact
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that the state department that leaked the reports that the wmds or some have shifted from damascus in the direction of homs, you know, this decision becomes that much more ominous. and i think the debate in this country n this policy making circle here should shift from what are we going to do in case there is a wmd attack to what should be done to preempt it? i mean, this is not -- [inaudible] we are seeing the sign on the ground. this is not some kind of an isolated incident that came by surprise. we're talking about an ethnic cleansing campaign. you can see -- [inaudible] and now we've seen movement of wmds, we see a regime that's being embattled, we see a pattern of behavior whereby, you know, the assad -- [inaudible] gets more and more bloody, and the more wounded they come, the more threatened they come, the more they unleash hell on everybody. so we cannot leave out the
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possibility that the wmd that has been moved is going to be used. so instead of waiting for it to happen, instead of waiting for the crime to happen and thousands of people to die while we're watching, i don't know the be it's going to be tomorrow or the day after, but instead of waiting for that, i think it's time for us to act, to preempt this possibility. it's not enough to send the message. the message needs to be sent not by simply having a statement issued by the white house. i think the only message that can be sent is by having airstrikes against targets. not the wmd targets, but the heavy around tilley, and -- artillery, and you say we're willing to use violence, then the message might circulate in the mind of assad, okay, this is getting serious. because right now the international community is not serious. is to actually show yourself willing to get down and dirty with them, to actually say, you
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know, we are going to have sanctions, we're going to issue a statement against you, this doesn't make any sense and has not produced any results in the last 16 months. ..
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the facts on the ground are really a sense of episcopal and we are not going to know what's going to happen. what is going to happen is more ethnic cleansing, that is what is going to happen. exactly at what rate? is it going to be tomorrow that you will have a large massacre or the day after? are they going to get out of the regime's control? these are the kinds of unpredictable elements that will happen but it's very is very unpredictable. the timing is -- may not be predicted. the partitioning of the country is happening and even with intervention, it's going to be -- a long process and it's going to
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be a process of trying to put the pieces of the puzzle back together even with intervention. without intervention there will be -- [inaudible] and i think one of the reasons we have in the kurdish region different groups and partnerships indirectly working so they are trying it on all borders. they can see the patterns on the ground and they realize things are really getting out of control. i hope that the session will wind up before it's too late, but i don't have much, you know, i hope against hope. >> thanks ammar. reuel. >> i will pick up where ammar
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leapt up with the administration say that i sincerely hope that the president luck continues and that he can within 30 to 60 days claim syria as a victory and astute foreign-policy of non-intervention. i suspect that will not be the case though i certainly hope the dynamic develops, so it is the case. i think if you look at iraq and there are some parallels here, if you look at iraq and you examine the amnesty that existed between the sunni and the shia community in iraq, and then you magnify it perhaps by i don't know, the power of 10, then i think you have something of an idea of what is at plate with the sunni. and, in iraq, you have the advantage that most shia
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families, and there is a lot of co-mingling between the shia and the sunni, most shia families have a historical sense knew that their ancestors were sunni. so there are a lot of internal breaks in the system that mitigated the desire for revenge and slaughter. i think those breaking mechanisms are a lot less in syria, and it is easy to imagine killing on a scale that we saw in lebanon, which i believe if you were to add up all the body counts in the population percentages and still the highest kill rate that we have seen in the modern middle middle east i would expect. i would expect something like that, some worse may be in syria. i don't think the obama
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administration is probably going to be compelled to intervene by the humanitarian loss. i think we have clearly seen that it has no desire to play in a strategic calculations. with that had been the case, a desire to wound, a desire to drive the base in the middle east out, desire to simply just give even for all the american blood that has been shed by the assad regime over the years would have would have been compelling to at least unleash the agency and i emphasize that, unleash is a little ferocious word. in the syrian case is almost tailor-made for covert action. on this one it doesn't take riot -- rocket science to do this one. they have not done it, but they won't do it and there is certainly no desire to encourage them to do it so i just don't
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see strategic calculations coming into play and again the humanitarian loss, i mean i don't know what the figure is, the cdc says 20,000 but i suspect the figure is a lot higher than that. certainly the u.s. government makes a -- the figures a lot higher than that. so what is the difference between 40,060,000? i suppose if you could see you know, graphic footage day and night coming in here -- living room or bedroom but i don't think we are going to see that. so, i don't -- i can easily see the death rate just accelerating rapidly and it's not having any impact really on washington. i wish that were not the case. i hope sincerely that slaughter somehow motivates where strategic calculations did not. but i am skeptical. i do think there is the wildcard here and it's a pretty profound
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wildcard and that is tricky. now it's obvious that erdogan and particularly the turkish army do not really wants want to get involved. however erdogan has made it clear, and the bridges and broke in and the ties with a sod had finished. erdogan is certainly on the side of rebellion now and they don't really want to get involved. however, turkey does have a dynamic internal political calculation that is closely followed by the turkish press. the sunni-shia animus has broken out in turkey which is not a very good thing in reality but it started in turkey. so it is possible to imagine the situation particularly if it continues to move in the direction of the rebellion or if the slaughter occurs and because the enormous ties between the aleph bo business community and
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the turkish business community particularly to the south which erdogan is highly sensitive to because that is one of the bases of power of the party. i think it is possible that you can see the turks become much more aggressive. it's possible. i'm not saying it's likely but it's certainly possible and it would be much more telling than either the saudi's remaining totally helpless or the jordanians who are little bit better than hopeless that this is way beyond their -- the turks could do this come it's possible and if the turks were to do it i could see president obama leading from behind again. so socom it's possible you could then get america -- american input and have greater american activity. you could have the agency working with the turks and coordinating the delivery of better weaponry, though i still think as ammar pointed out if you have heavy artillery on a
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city level, that is a fairly convincing argument. and it's very difficult to see them overcoming that, if there is no internal break in the mindset. if they are not fearing for examples there is a point of slaughter whereby they could lose the sunni components of the syrian army. there is no fear of that, then i see no reason why they don't just slaughter and the only way you will take out -- out that kind of stuff is through some type of interaction and i just don't see unless the opposition somehow is close to back him unless there can be some internal break inside of the forces themselves, then i am skeptical how to take out these units. you can take out the helicopters and take out all of that if the americans in the turks would deliver the right type of weaponry. so a lot could be done and you could create some sort of
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situation that the regime doesn't expect the doom and gloom really sinks in and they always begin to reassess their loyalty to the assad family. i'm skeptical given how well -- i am skeptical because i think they correctly understand that they're only alternatives are going to be exile or death or otherwise they have to throw themselves on the mercy of the sunni community and somehow, i don't think i will see it going there. but that is -- if you are going to have a slither of hope that is where the hope is that. you have got to somehow militarily through new equipment, through new tactics changed the dynamics of a really feel the doom and gloom and otherwise as i said at the beginning i certainly hope what we have seen in the last few days does produce some unexpected unraveling and
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president obama can go on television and say see, i was right. >> thank you, reuel. plots about u.s. policy but let me first turn to david, to see if i can get you to talk a little bit about your actual experience with the rebels that you did travel with and just get a bit more granularity from when you make of that, who they are, what motivates them politically, are they seized with the kinds of issues of revenge and retribution that reuel discusses. ammar mentioned the increasing pace of islamization of the rebel forces as they feel increasingly abandoned and left alone to face assad with there only help from other islamist and jihadists forces in the region. i wonder if you can drill down on that and give a sure own
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sense of reality of what it is that you saw? >> well, i think everything we have just heard is pretty much true. this at terry and nature of the conflict, especially around homs is very acute. we are seeing what does appear in some cases to be the syrian military or pro-government militias clearing out the area to the west of the river and forcing sunni villagers east of that river. that is articulated all the time by rebels and residents of that area and i have traveled to some of these places, where the sectarian cleansing has occurred, and at times what we find if there is a lot more
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fighting obviously. there are rebel presence is in these areas are goat is not simply the syrian attacking a civilians or participating in the revolution. and as you said, the alawi's at this point, they do it seems have two options. i haven't heard any of the rebel groups offer any sort of idea about what transitional justice looks like, other than we would like to kill them. and you know i think in part, some people said things like, you know, six months ago we asked the international community for help to end this quick way so that this wouldn't drag on and now the killing has gone on so long, don't come crying to us when we kill all
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the alawites literally in those words so that as a is the general sense especially around homs for where at least since the end of last year it has been very pronounced as and alawi shia versus sunni conflict with the small christian minority i think very much feeling trapped in the middle. there has been a lot of talk about christians being targeted specifically for being christian. i had seen no direct evidence of that. i have seen christians targeted because they were associated with the government. the rebels are very open about that. there are definitely and segue from there into they are definitely, and i think everyone knows that quite a few syrians are muslims, so there are --
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okay. so there are what we would think of as jihadi or islamist factions amongst the rebels. at this point, the stated goal from virtually every group you come across is we want to get rid of assad. in more candid moments the rub talk about their fears for what happens after the fall of the government. are we going to have various rebel groups with various visions for what a post-assad syria looks like, fighting over that vision. i think that is probably a very real and very likely possibility and the rebels talk about that themselves. you also hear people say, these complaints about, about the islamist factions receiving the bulk of the support seem to be well-founded. people are channeling aid from the gulf through syrians in this
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syrian diaspora. it seems to be largely happening in that way. to groups that are cell of the groups and amongst these fighters i have met a number of fighters who were in iraq. i spent a lot of time reporting from iraq and so often the conversation goes that if i mention i've been to iraq half the guys in the rooms will raise their hand and say hey you have been to fallujah. do you remember 2004? and the fighters, and the government, the syrian government have frequently referred to homs as fallujah and that is very loaded in that they both have their own ideas about what that means. but that is a very real element. for me it has been truly fascinating because in iraq after 2004 as an american correspondent i didn't have access to these guys. i mean, it was almost impossible
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to meet with the resistance or insurgents or whatever you want to call it. and so i mean now, i am welcome amongst them and it has been very interesting to see how they fight and see how they train and to see how, i mean they have become very adept at building roadside bombs. they are fighting a military that does not have the best equipment. we are talking about i think to some extent the strength of the syrian military has been overstated, and especially i mean, they are using the old russian armored personnel carriers and tanks that can be taken out with an rpg without necessarily an armor-piercing rpg. the long-range shelling of the helicopters is still a serious issue, but they do seem to be occasionally shooting down helicopters that fly low.
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i mean, i mostly saw helicopters flying too high to actually identify what kind of helicopter they were. you know we did see some attacks. but i would say as often as they did seem to be somewhat effective they did seem to be entirely ineffective. possibly just spotting for artillery. going back to the islamist element amongst the rebels, there are also people who have told me yeah we grew a beard and we even asked for money, so just because they say they are salafi's does not mean they are salafi or jihadi's. there have been, i mean i haven't seen any reports or i haven't experienced any groups necessarily enacting any kind of
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ideas sharia law or islamic law in the areas they control. we have seen them setting up courts that draw from not just local imams but local leaders as well. rural syria is often a very conservative place so it's not surprising that they would see a lot of fighters, a lot of rebels who are pious. we also see lots that aren't. and, the salafi themselves, i spent time with a few different salafi battalions. they consider themselves somewhat moderate. they do say yes, we would like to see something that looks more like egypt, where islamic political parties are allowed to contest elections.
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that is perhaps the most articulated vision i have heard for what syria or syrian politics looks like post-assad. we want other parties to be able to participate in that they not a spouse necessarily secular ideals. and so i don't think that is terribly shocking. speech terrific, thank you. ammar, if in some way, shape or form assad does go this issue of the fracturing of the state, whether the alawites are as -- able to establish a state in the northwest and the kurds have you have said are more or less in control of territory now in the north east and quite i would say in some ways alienated and disaffected from the rebellion
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in the wider part of the country with its obvious sunni-arab subtext. given how far things have gone, do you see that if assad were to go is the most likely outcome, this chaotic fracturing and are there things that you believe at this point in time we can do to reverse the clock? >> even with assad staying in power, this is happening. the fracturing is now -- we are going back to a pristine condition that is private but regional realities have really become invisible and they are imposing themselves on the scene. the realities of aleppo are the same and i think when i monitor
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the chatter that happens in the social media you can see that the regional identity is being solidified and there is an overarching set of identities and i'm not saying everybody -- from syria and in fact even the kurds are not choosing the separatist language like we want to sort of declare our independence. there is an overarching -- belonging to syria but there are people saying other things that when you look at the practical interpretations, we want a better deal than we used to have under the past regime. that to me indicates a desire for some kind of local autonomy, not just a decentralization but a very strong local form of governance. and when you add that to the fact that already there are rebel groups bettered disunited and are requiring a revolutionary legitimacy even in their own minds, and this is the key. it's not just in the minds of the people but in the minds of -- what is in it for us now?
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regarding going to be shoved aside in sort of told okay, now go back and be nobody's? it's just not going to happen so the reality is the fracturing is here and it's going to stay for a while and the challenge that faces the opposition groups inside and outside the countries to come up with his vision for syria. david said about the transitional -- we need an overarching position of what it will look like. we have been trying for a wild in our discussion in the opposition and you know recently there was some -- [inaudible] for opposition groups and in fact to help us come together to do it. and, the concept, just the very concept sell something that a lot of them are seeing as enigmatic.
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even though when we talk about the realities on the ground, there is still this cut off, this inability to transcend their own ideologies and think about what the realities are unfolding in how they need to manage it instead of looking at their role as potential managers of a different situation, trying to create something. they still think they are holding the state as it is on their assad and putting the economy back together and whatever. the idea that they need to put the state back together is not there yet. it is not just restructuring, it's not just new buildings that need to be established, but it is putting the state back together. it's actually asking different people of different regions what are their real aspirations and how do you envision your role in a future serious? one of these issues, there are still discussions we are not having with the opposition that
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have proven to be very difficult to even approach. so, i think for this reason, the intervention is very difficult and i think for this reason we need an intervention because unless we think that the situation is okay and we can live with it, then we need to do something to prevent that from becoming a reality because it is fast becoming a reality. we have reached this point of no return. is a just going to happen? i think we are very much near. if we are going to wait until november, perhaps by that time we will have reached a point of no return. we need to do something now. one of the frustrating things that have been happening and my own frustration is everything we are talking about today is something that probably after two months of the revolution, that we have been saying and predicting, this is going to happen. if you wait you're going to
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massacres and have ethnic cleansing and risk partition of the country so it's not something that no one predicted. it was predictable and we talked about it and we warned against it and yet we saw no action. so in a sense it seems to me that there is a tendency among some of the political establishments or a willingness to accept a fragmentation of syria and to live with it and to think this is somehow manageable and if that is what is going to happen then that is what is going to happen. >> let me pursue that a bit with reuel because i obviously am sympathetic to what reuel and ammar have to say and it's been frustrating to watch, an american administration kind of hide behind the fig leaf of diplomatic processes and security council meetings and international conferences, all of them seemingly completely divorced from the reality of what's happening on the ground in syria and all the more
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putting a veto essentially in the hands of the likes of latimer putin over a moral tragedy like this that moran personally touches or appears to touch vital american interest, not the least the struggle with the iranians. having said that however and whatever positions, the alternative argument i suppose the president's supporters could say is look at what has happened without a single american soldier, airplane put at risk, lots of words, very little action, a little bit of logistical support may be. we have got this amazing story that virtually on their own the syrian people have struggled and brought this regime possibly to the cusp of defeat and they are able on their own to get inside of the inner sanctum and low parts of it to kingdom, and have
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this regime in a sense on the run. and as bad as it is, as much of a humanitarian disaster and as many people that have died as they had, this is all coming around. the president said this guy was going to go 11 months ago and lo and behold, that may indeed happen still. with very little american effort or risk. the risks reward ratio at the moment i suppose one could argue looks quite good and looks even better than what happened in libya. so i wonder reuel if you are sitting with the president you hear this, how do you persuade him otherwise, not to mention that the course that he has been on is entirely in keeping with where i believe the majority of the

U.S. Senate
CSPAN July 23, 2012 8:30am-12:00pm EDT


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